We are hearing it all the time in recent years…
Setting goals or health goals is the key to supporting your health and wellbeing.
It makes sense, right?
Goals are like a road map, or a training plan for marathon runner for example. When you know where you are going, it’s easier to make progress.
Setting goals provides focus, allows you to track progress and can increase the momentum of your success.
But despite their importance, in a vast majority of cases, setting health goals doesn’t actually work.
Diet culture can set us up for failure unless we have learned to block out the noise and navigate our map autonomously.
So if health goals really matter, why aren’t more of us hitting them?
Here’s an example of health goals I set out for myself many moons ago that was destined for failure and for me to blame myself for not being able to achieve it…
-Eat a filling and wholesome breakfast.
-Eat more whole foods, especially leafy greens.
-Drink 8 glasses of water everyday.
-Cook from scratch.
-Watch out for ultra processed foods.
-Exercise 30 mins minimum daily.
-Meditate or journal.
-Spend time doing a hobby.
-Spend less time on social media.
-Get 7-9 hours sleep.
What strikes me about this list of health goals is:
How overwhelming it is.
Setting unrealistic health goals that do not match your circumstances or lifestyle will only frustrate you and manifest in poor results. This is a common trait I see in people with high standards who are very competitive, especially with themselves.
At this time I was struggling with chronic stress.
Stress is a significant biomarker for poor health. Often people do not see the connection between metabolism, energy, immune system, mood, weight fluctuations, and optimal health when it comes to stress. Everyone with stress and anxiety in their life needs to reduce it through proven techniques and creating a long list of to-do’s every one of us knows adds more stress.
Getting it all right was unsustainable.
And despite knowing that I would likely fail, I still set the health goals and told myself that this time if I tried harder I would get it right.
This didn’t work for me because it was not suitable or realistic for my lifestyle. Many people take on an aggressive dieting protocol, see results initially and then drop off. They haven’t learned how to build off the success they’ve had because it was all too consuming and sustaining change can be hard and boring.
But things can change for you…by SEEKING Help!
The number one reason people struggle to meet their goals is that they don’t take that first step and seek help.
The “I’ll figure it out on my own,” approach will see you waste hours of your time and energy.
What a valuable tool accountability can be to accomplishing your goals and prevent you from failing.
Meeting with a professional could solve your problems within a shorter timeframe and to a higher degree of success as you build health supportive habits .
When you commit to a lifestyle change you commit to continually putting in the work. You are committing to giving some time and attention to it every day.
And a health coach will support you to do that.
Goal Setting with a Non-Diet Coach
Deciding On The Right Health Goal
My goal is to feel healthy. Many people begin with the question “Where do I start?”
However not enough people think about what health even is?
What have you in your head when you say those words? Do you have anything meaningful? Have you anything that you can set your mind to and achieve? Have you any measures for what it is you want to achieve?
We really start with looking at our health goals and understanding what the feeling is that we are looking for behind our goal. Usually with clients, I find they want to feel happy or content. So will eating plant based meals deliver either of these to you?
Where do you want to get to? What is it that you want to do? What is it that you want to feel? How is it that you want to be living? What do you want to hear other people say about you? What do you want to hear yourself say about you?
How do you want to show up in a red dress? Do you need to be thin to show up in that red dress or do you want to show up in that red dress as you are – the amazing person that you are?
So we start thinking about who you want to be when we think about your non diet health goals.
Acknowledging What You Are Already Great At
Then we start looking at what are all the other things that you’ve done in your life. What you have already achieved.
We often don’t pay attention to what we have accomplished along the way.
We dismiss it because we haven’t gotten to the end. But if the marathon runner didn’t pay attention to the 10K and the 15K along the way, they wouldn’t go on and get to the end of the marathon.
So, we pay attention to all the past efforts you made and we discover what you did with ease and that brought you happiness. If we focus only on one goal , a reminder of what we don’t yet have, we forget every little win, every step of progress.
We like to better ourselves, it’s human nature and I am all for growth. What I do like you to do, however, is better yourself by noticing what you’re already great at. What obstacles have you already overcome?
From there, we begin to notice that while there are things that will get in our way, those obstacles are there for us to grow and learn and stretch.
I used to view obstacles as a reason to go back into this little loop of sabotaging behaviours and negative self-talk.
How to learn with compassion.
Researchers have identified habits you can bring into your daily life that can help you achieve flourishing health.
There are hundreds of ways of achieving this so you have to find the right the best way for you. Diet culture has left you riddled with feeling that “Its your fault, you are the failure, not the diet.” It has robbed you of your ability to learn with compassion. When you take on health goals with a non diet approach, you embrace a journey of self awareness which is best partnered with curiosity and non-judgment.
Change becomes possible when you become aware of your thoughts feelings and behaviours, because if you stay blind to what you are thinking, feeling and doing…its impossible to change long term.
And when you start this work, you start to become a witness or observer to yourself and you start to see all the parts of yourself, some that you aren’t happy with, proud of or inspired by.
Working with a coach allows you to become aware of your thoughts about health, your current behaviours that aren’t supporting your health, your feelings about past failed attempts, your motivation, your fears. Learning in this way allows you to get curious about your beliefs, the truth according to the evidence but also the truth according to your own evidence. You challenge rather than judge yourself.
This is where self-compassion comes in handy. “I should have known better”, “I’m just so angry with myself” or “I’m a complete failure”.
This language is damaging to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. If you said this to somebody else, you’d see their bodies physically retracting, but yet we do to our bodies all the time when we talk to ourselves like that. It is hard to accept yourself as you are, which may not be everything that you want to be.
But, the compassion and the language, the choice to speak to yourself more kindly will help you, as you begin to stretch and grow and change and to feel even better.
Accepting myself for who I am, warts and all, and moving myself forward to being the person that I want to be and that I truly feel comfortable with.
And these are all learnings that I bring with me into the coaching environment.
I invite you to stop and spend 20 minutes answering these questions for yourself in relation to your health goals.
What are the 2 health goals you want to achieve in the next 3 months? Let’s make it realistic.
Why are they a must?
What has kept you from changing in the past?
What needs to change now to allow you to achieve this?
What are 1-2 actionable steps that will immediately move your goals forward?
If are stuck with any of these questions…then join my upcoming The Confident Eaters Club where we’ll identify what exactly the challenges are that you face with your food and health goals and create a roadmap for you to use that works for you. Click the link below to find out more and secure your spot – doors close midnight Friday 13th!