Breaking down your goals into a manageable wellness plan can be the difference between aspirations and realizations. Think about the goals you have for your health and the positive results you hope to achieve. You may want to reduce stress, be more fit, lose weight, increase your exercise, eat better or quit smoking. Regardless of your goals when making health and wellness changes, you will need to create specific goals to achieve over a period of time in order to successfully achieve lasting lifestyle changes.
Types of goals
A strong wellness plan will include three types of goals: long-term, short-term and SMART goals.
Long-Term Goal: The “big picture” goal, a desired future outcome that may take a year or longer to complete.
Example: I will lose 50 pounds in the next year.
Short-Term Goal: Breaks down the long-term goal into smaller goals; a desired outcome that can be achieved in three months.
Example: In order to lose 50 pounds, I will adopt healthier eating habits and add more physical activity to my day.
SMART goals: A desired outcome that can be achieved in 2 to 3 weeks’ time that further breaks down both the long- and short-term goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Example: For the next two weeks, I will pack a healthy lunch for work 3 days each week–Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Example: For the next two weeks, I will walk for 15 minutes of my lunch break all 5 days each week.
Achieving your goals
As you begin to achieve your SMART goals, you will further your goals by adding new SMART goals. The cumulative results of your SMART goals will add up to your short-term goals, then your short-term goals into your long-term goals! Adopting behaviors in this manner helps to create lasting lifestyle changes, rather than something you are forcing yourself to do.
Here’s an example of a wellness plan
Use the goals you created and craft a wellness plan out of them, like this:
Long-term goal: I will lose 50 pounds in the next year.
Short-term goal: In order to lose 50 pounds, I will adopt healthier eating habits and add more physical activity to my day.
SMART goal: For the next two weeks, I will pack a healthy lunch for work 3 days each week–Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
SMART goal: For the next two weeks, I will walk for 15 minutes of my lunch break, all 5 days each week.
Tips for accomplishing goals
Write it down! Writing down your goals is helpful for follow-through and making a commitment to yourself. Go one step further by posting your goals in a location where you will see them frequently. The constant reminder helps motivation.
Share your goals. Sharing your goals with your spouse, family member, friend or a co-worker can help with external motivation and support. Also, you may find a partner for your endeavors if someone is working on similar goals!
Visualize it. Imagine what it would be like for you to meet your goal. What would it look like? How would you feel? Feeling this sense of accomplishment and “seeing” the outcome can be a powerful motivator.
Make affirmations. Think positive! Write down positive thoughts related to your goals. Place the affirmations in places where you will see. These affirmations serve as a reminder of what you would like to accomplish. For example, “I am eating healthier because I feel good about myself when I do, and I have more energy.”
Reframe your thoughts. How we think and what we say plays a major part in our attitude about our goals. What we accomplish can be determined by our thought process. Turn a negative into a positive like the example below:
I do not have time to exercise.
Reframed into a positive thought:
I can fit in 20 minutes of walking during lunch.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching Program, connect with a Wellness Coach for help in setting and achieving effective goals.