Setting goals are an important part of a healthy lifestyle since they help you and your loved one measure your progress and successes. It's also important to break down those goals into manageable and achievable steps so you stay motivated and moving in the right direction. You and your loved one may want to start by thinking long-term - such as what you want to be able to achieve by the end of 2020 - and use this goal to identify the steps to get you there.
Make a list of health priorities that are important to long-term and short-term health. For instance, what would you like to see change immediately that may have a long-term effect? For instance, your loved one may have diabetes and changing their dietary intake will have a significant effect on how much medication they need to manage their blood sugar and the long-term health effects associated with taking blood sugar medications and high blood sugar. Once you've identified the overall goals, it's time to break them down into five manageable steps.
Make the Goals Specific
As you consider the objective you want to achieve at the end of the year, seek to make it as specific as possible. For instance, if you and your loved one believe losing 30 pounds by December 2020 would help their health, then a goal of "losing 30 pounds" is much more specific than "I want to lose weight." However, you'll also want to include not only the outcome but also the method you'll use as this goal will be posted so you and your loved one may read it throughout the year, keeping you on track. So, this goal may become, "I want to lose 20 pounds by December 2020 by exercising three times each week, moving every two hours throughout the day, reducing sugar in my diet, eliminating soda and controlling my portions."
When Goals Are Measurable You Can Measure Success
When the goal set has measurable criteria, you have the ability to measure your progress as you work toward success. For instance, with a goal of losing 30 pounds, you can measure the amount lost every 2 weeks to help motivate you and moving toward the ultimate end goal. You can measure how many times your loved one exercised during the week or got up and moved during the day.
Consider other factors that may impact your loved one’s ability to achieve their goal. For instance, they may be a stress eater. This means you may want to help them devise a way of measuring their stress levels each day and tracking the difference this makes in their eating. This allows you to include other stress-reducing strategies along the way to help with weight loss.
Make the Goals Attainable
You set yourself and your loved one up for failure if you set goals that are not attainable or that cannot be maintained long-term. For example, it may be attainable for your loved one to lose 2.5 pounds each month, or 30 pounds in one year, but not to lose 50 pounds in a year. When unattainable goals are set, and milestones aren't met, motivation plummets and the ultimate goal may never be achieved.
Instead, select attainable and measurable goals that you and your loved one are confident you can reach. Break the larger goal into smaller steps to help spell out the process and ensure these smaller steps are realistic.
Ensure the Goal Is Relevant to Your Loved One
The goal should be relevant to your family members, not just to you. Using the same example, if they don't see the importance of losing weight to achieve their health goals, then no amount of planning or pushing will help them. Each step must also make sense. If exercise is part of the plan, then make the exercise something they can achieve. Pick the method that works for them.
Know When You Want to Achieve the Goal
In other words, have a time that is realistic and achievable. But, be flexible. The goal of losing 30 pounds by the end of 2020 is a good long-term goal. Make smaller goals of losing 2.5 pounds by the end of each month helps raise motivation as the goal is achieved. If the goal isn't achieved, then it can be moved out several weeks, as long as you and your loved one keep moving toward the ultimate goal.
In other words, don't allow one small failure to torpedo your overall effort. Everyone stumbles and falls. The measurement of failure isn't if you fall or don't reach your goal as planned, but whether you get up and keep moving forward.
Would You Like Help Setting Health Goals for Your Loved One?
At Harmony, it is our goal to help your loved one achieve their health goals. We can help you identify how to make this happen and set measurable steps along the way. Call us today! We’ll help create a safe and supportive home for your loved one.