As I sit here in my home in Canberra, Australia, sipping on my tea while Max, my parrot, chimes away in the background, I can't help but ponder on the importance of setting health goals... and not just setting them, but striving to achieve them as well. Each of us is a complex, bio-psycho-social organism, affected by a myriad of influences from our genes to our habits. While we cannot change our genetics, we can certainly control our habits and lifestyle choices. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but when it comes to setting health goals, I say it takes just a moment of decision. The journey may be long and sometimes uninteresting, but isn't it time we adopted a mindset of seeing our bodies as an investment rather than an expense?
Defining your health goals is as significant as the journey itself. It's the blueprint, the structure upon which your path to health and wellness is constructed. Many believe that health goals are restricted to weight loss or muscle building. However, in reality, they cater to various aspects including mental health, emotional well being, nutritional intake, chronic disease management, etc. It's not just about beach bodies, but about feeling good inside and out. My advice to you? Brew yourself a cup of tea, take a pen, a piece of paper, and write down what you want to achieve regarding your health. It may take time, but remember, Rome wasn't built in a day!
Having a purpose in life is what keeps us moving forward. We are always on the lookout for the 'why' behind our actions or the reasons that keep us inspired and carry us forward. These whys form the bedrock of our purposeful goals. Whether it's the desire to play with your grandchildren without getting exhausted or fit into your favourite dress again, or manage stress effectively, your purpose guides you towards your health goals. Even my parrot Max, knows his purpose! His ultimate health goal is to keep his feathers bright and shiny but he knows it's linked to his greater purpose which is 'to look pretty for the ladies!' So, what's your why?
In our bustling lives, it's easy for our health goals to get lost in the shuffle. We often set them, only to keep them on the back burner while our other obligations and duties take precedence. The key to overcoming this is visibility. Make your goals visible, put them up on your refrigerator, the mirror in your bathroom or as a wallpaper on your cell phone. When your health goals are on a display, they don't get lost in the shadows of your routine life. It's like how Max likes to show off his vibrant feathers - they're never hidden, leading him to maintain them constantly!
Consistency is the name of the game. Is it easy? Heck no! Some days you may not feel like following your predetermined schedule or there could be times when you might experience a plateau in your health journey. It's during these times that your consistency will be tested. However, keep in mind that these walls are not to keep you out, but to give you a chance to prove how badly you want something. It's like when Max tries to open a hard seed - he doesn't give up till he gets to the fruit inside. So keep at it, even if the results aren't immediate, they will come.
While staying committed to your health goals is essential, so is adapting according to the changing circumstances. You might have initially planned to go to the gym thrice a week, but what if your work schedule suddenly changes? Life is unpredictable and the ability to adjust your health goals based on your circumstances only shows your determination. I remember once when Max had an injured wing, he still managed to do his little bird squats, adapting his routine to keep his legs in shape. It's the same with your health goals - when life throws a curve ball, catch it and throw it back!
A diverse health goals portfolio means setting targets across different areas of health and wellness. As a mental health advocate myself, I encourage you to set goals that cater not only to your physical health but also your mental well-being. Maintaining a nutritious diet, consistent exercise routine, and quality sleep hours could be your physical health goals. As for mental health, they can include learning a new hobby, practicing mindfulness, or maintaining a daily gratitude journal. Diversity allows you to keep your health journey interesting and fulfilling - like Max's diverse diet, not just seeds and nuts, but fruits, veggies and birdy treats too, contributing to his vibrant heath.
Last but not the least, why not celebrate your achievements, big or small, by treating yourself? Every time you tick off a health goal, it's a reason to rejoice. Gift yourself a spa day, a new book, an evening walk in the park anything that brings you joy. Rewards not only enhance motivation but also validate effort. They bring a sense of accomplishment and encourage you to keep going. Even Max gets his favourite sunflower seeds as a treat when he completes his daily set of bird exercises. Think of this reward system as the cherry on top of your health journey.
Setting and achieving health goals doesn't have to be a tedious task. In fact, it can be a fun and enriching journey where you treat your body like a temple and nourish it accordingly. So here’s to setting health goals that resonate with you, working towards them with zest and celebrating every victory along the way!