Health: Life Hacks – Goal Keepers
Browsing the book section of thrift shops all over, I’m always amazed at the amount of diet and self-help books that make their way through people’s homes and onto the recycle pile. A thumb through usually reveals the first few chapters are read, but the second half remains unblemished by human hands. Why we start and fail to continue programmes is as much a motivation problem as a product of our failure to set achievable goals.
I’m watching with great interest a friend whose new health kick involved taking up three new training methods, as well as announcing a week in that a mini marathon was in the offing. While I genuinely hope that she will prevail, it’s somewhat unlikely given that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Change happens in small ways; enduring change rarely comes from multiple goals.
So how do you implement change?
Pick something specific. Make a definite statement about how you want things to be and visualise it. Instead of saying ‘I’m going to lose weight’, which is vague and easily dismissed, try ‘I’m going to lose 6 pounds’ . In the case of developing an exercise program you might like to set a goal like, ‘I’m going to run nonstop for twenty minutes’.
Is it measurable? If so, use measurements: weight, dropping clothes size, achieving a distance, etc. So instead of ‘I’m going to learn how to run’ try ‘I’m going to run 1km without stopping’.
Can you realistically achieve this goal? While a marathon is a huge step, a 5k jog is a more achievable goal. Same goes with weight. People set huge targets – ‘I’m gonna loose 2 stone IMMEDIATELY!’ – then fail and pile on even more weight; double whammy!
Time it. When is this goal going to happen? It’s all very well saying ‘I’m gonna run a marathon’, but what marathon? When? So if we return to the first step, we might say ‘I’m going to lose 6 pounds in 2 months’ or ‘I’m going to be running for 20 minutes nonstop as of the 20th of October’.
By setting small, achievable goals we have a better chance of actually achieving them. Too often we take on massive overhauls of lifestyle and crumble when we falter. What often happens is when we fail at one aspect of these massive goals, we let all the smaller goals go down the drain too. By setting smaller, achievable goals, we increase our chances of actually sticking with them.
It’s difficult to have many huge goals at once, especially if these are all new goals or not established as part of our lifestyles. So give yourself a break! Don’t expect to change yourself. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are achieving small goals every day.
Now, let’s put it into practise.
Take a piece of paper and write down 3 small goals you have for the coming week. Give yourself a score out of 5 for each day of the week. You don’t have to get all 5s all week; the goal can be to improve your score week on week. Hang that up somewhere prominent and make your little goals work for you!