How to set yourself realistic goals
After years of being bombarded with ‘advice’ on how to lose weight or how to drop a dress size, it’s left us all a little confused and with incredibly negative associations to diet and fitness, says our Fitness Editor, Hollie Grant. Here's how to start as you mean to go on.
Here are my top tips to consider when setting goals:
1. Make goals small enough that they don't overwhelm and demotivate you and big enough that they challenge you. Remember that when you reach that goal that doesn't have to be the end of the journey, you can always make a new one. Let's make sure we hit that goal though so aim for achievable goals that are realistic given the busy life you lead. You don't need to aim to run a marathon if actually running a 5k distance twice a week would be more beneficial and achievable for you.
2. Make goals from a loving angle rather than self-hatred. An example of this would be choosing a goal such as ‘to eat more superfoods to nourish my body’ rather than ‘get rid of my saddlebags'. When we come at goals from a loving, positive angle we are less likely to revert to negative health patterns.
3. Give yourself a time frame. This again needs to be achievable, but giving yourself a time frame will help keep you on track. Just don't berate yourself if you deviate slightly from this. An example of this would be ‘I will do three minutes skipping for five mornings per week’, that way if Monday morning comes and your baby has been up all night it's OK- you still have six other mornings to complete your goal.
4. Try not to make your goals too broad. An example of a goal that is too general would be ‘to get fitter’. Try to think instead about more specific goals that would help you to ‘get fitter’. Maybe instead you set a goal such as ‘I will walk to work three times per week’. That way you have set a specific goal that will help you in your overall aim of getting fitter.
5. Aim for goals that are relevant to you. If you already eat mindfully and healthily don't set yourself extreme diet related goals such as becoming vegan or going totally sugar free. Or going back to the example regarding running a marathon - is there much point training to run a marathon if you don't even like running and will never run again after that. Maybe your goal would instead be more to do with learning to enjoy exercise if you currently find it a chore.
Treat your body like you would treat your best friend/partner/baby. Protect it from harm, support and nourish it, love it and speak kindly to it. Ditch ‘weight-loss’ and ‘clothes size’ goals – in fact you may as well have a ceremonial burning of your scales – and instead ask yourself each day if you are happier than you were a week ago.
Every month for the next year, the #360me team will be sharing their baby-steps approach to leading a healthier, happier life – tried, tested, researched and real-life-approved. It’s here for you – to enjoy, to inspire, to guide. Share your #360me journey with us at @psydirector and @psychologiesmagazine.
Find out more in the June issue of Psychologies, out now.
Looking to achieve your goals?