How to Set Goals to Achieve a Big Healthy Payoff!

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Who’s the Boss

Goals are easy to set, but they can be difficult to implement without passion, a dream, or an incentive.  Some goals in life, such as creating a family, getting promoted at work, or traveling to a tropical island motivate people to spend their money, time, and effort.   Unfortunately, too many people do not make these same investments in their health.  I will boldly say that investing in your health has a far greater payoff – you can improve the quality and length of your life by lowering your chance of developing or furthering major health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint disease, and sleep apnea.

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I believed that I was happy before I committed to a healthier lifestyle.  I realize now that I could have been much happier.  I can now walk long distances and dance without getting short of breath, I can enjoy any amusement park ride without worrying if I can fit in the seat, I am no longer worried that I’ll be squished up against the person seated next to me on a plane, and I am far more productive at work and home because I have more energy and feel younger.  In addition, I can spend money on things I want instead of numerous medicines, doctor visits, and medical supplies.  I smile every single day when I look at my healthy body in the mirror because I DID IT.  You can too!

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On my way to the gym!

goal-setting-in-action When I think back now, I realize that I was always successful at achieving goals at work; even when I did not agree with them.

Why?  Because my income and job were at stake, and my boss directed me do them!  So indulge me for a few minutes while I talk business!

One of the freedoms we have as Americans is making a living by selecting our occupation.  A person’s job is often dependent upon his or her level of education, the need for a stable income, job offers, a career goal, talent, or ambition.  Any one of these factors can affect a person’s income level.  And, since only a small percent of people in this country are considered wealthy, you may be someone who shares in the “rich dream” or at least the dream of living very comfortable.

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If you are one of the many people who work for an employer, and have a get “rich dream” – it probably is just that – a dream!  You see, your boss is not responsible or typically motivated to make you rich.  In fact, some employers would rather hire someone fresh out of college instead of keeping long-term employees.  That is because many long term employees have higher salaries, more vacation time, feel entitled to more perks, and often have lower levels of ambition.  Basically, the company’s goals and/or your boss’s goals may not be not aligned with your personal goals.

you are bossI never thought about my boss’s role in my financial destiny until I read Robert T. Kihyosaki’s books Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Retire Young, Retire Rich, and Other People’s Money.   These books explain what Kihyosaki learned, how he achieved great wealth, and what others can do to achieve the “rich dream.”  So, I decided to adapt principles from these books for the “healthy dream.”

FIRST, you need to be the BOSS of your own life!  You have the power to set meaningful and realistic personal goals.  Don’t forget, there is nobody else whose job it is to make you rich (oops, I meant healthy)!   Although family and friends may support you, they cannot do the entire job for you.

Once you appoint yourself boss over your life, you can get busy creating a plan to make the business of getting healthy a success.

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Strategically Plan for Your Success

Create a vision

How do you want to look or feel down the road?  What do you want to be able to do?  Visualize aBinocular healthier you, and use those thoughts to help you write down your goals.  I always pictured in my mind what I wanted to accomplish at times when I was wavering between a healthy and unhealthy choice. Visualizing my success made a difference.

 Develop a plan

Write down short and long-term goals.   Writing down your goals, is the most important step because it is your roadmap to achieve your vision, and it also holds you accountable for accomplishing milestones.  I’ll cover the details on how to set goals a little later.

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 Make an investment

MICHELE GLIDERYou will need time and effort to learn, exercise, and to find/cook healthy foods and recipes.  You are the only one that knows your responsibilities and schedule.  Make it a point to plan time for yourself almost every day.

 Share your goals

Build your support network:  Years ago, I heard a motivational speaker proclaim, “If you don’t tell people where you are going, how can they help you get there?

 

FRIENDS TALKING

When you are the boss, your decisions affect those closest to you. You will be buying different foods and spending more time and money on yourself.  You might get some pushback from those living with you, but remember who the boss is!

Ask for help, establish expectations, and do not let others de-rail you from your goals.  I’ve had many people say things to me like, my children don’t like what I am cooking, and my husband brings home sweets all the time.  I know these are real challenges, but you don’t have to eat the donuts, and you could feed your children something different.  The important thing is not to blame the troops for a decision you made!

Track your progress

Compare your progress to your goals.  Use a checklist to mark of daily or weekly accomplishments. 670px-Set-SMART-Goals-Step-4 You will feel gratified and keep motivated when you actually do what you planned to do.

 

Celebrate your Successes

Reward yourself when achieving small steps towards your long-term goals.

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Back to Developing Your Plan:  Use Smart Goals

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Whether you are committing to a fitness or weight loss program, kicking the smoking habit, or plan to get more rest, you should define goals that are:

  • Specific:  Not to general.  Say exactly what you will do.

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  • Measurable:  If you can’t measure your goal, you won’t know that you met it.

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  • Attainable:  Make sure your goal is something you can and are willing to do.

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  • Realistic:  Your goal should be something you can do with the resources you have.

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  • Time-based: Give yourself a time frame to meet you goals.  Both short and long-term.

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Your Attitude is Important

There will always be days when sticking to your goals feels like a long and bumpy journey. You may miss one or short-term goals like you had planned. Treat each day as a fresh new start. Focus on small changes that you can make to fit those goals into your day or week.

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To help you keep a positive attitude, don’t let your health goals overwhelm you. For instance, setting a weight loss goal of 50 pounds can seem like an impossible task – so set smaller weight loss goals, on either a weekly or monthly basis, in addition to your overall goal. Once you reach your smaller goal, reward yourself – without food – and set your next goal. This will help you feel in control and keep you motivated.

So, visualize what success looks like, write down your goals, ask for others to support you, track your progress, and take action when the plans set forth to achieve your goals are not working! Remember, be realistic!

Health is Wealth

Goals- ZiglarThe best news is that there are riches beyond money.  You could have all the money in the world, but without a strong, healthy body you will never be capable of reaching your full potential.

I prefer the “healthy dream” over the “rich dream” because I see infinite possibilities in everything now!   I am still a dreamer, but I have become a better planner and I am my own boss!  Take action and make it happen.

 

 

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Resources:  Goal Setting Worksheets

To access two different goal setting worksheets, click on the links below:

  • Recommended worksheet:

 http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/SMARTgoalsWS-NN.pdf

  • Simpler worksheet and additional information on setting SMART goals:

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/motivation/define.html