Just like a road trip, reaching your goals requires a clear destination and a reliable road.
Maybe you already have a specific goal in mind, or maybe the next 4 weeks will give you an idea of what you’d like to improve in order to make the biggest change to your overall health. The first crucial step is identifying your goals.
And here onward, we’re going to navigate this incredible journey together. Think of your dreams as the ‘X’ on the treasure map, and over the next 4 weeks, I’ll be your trusty navigator, helping you plot the course, steer through challenges, and accelerate toward success. Buckle up, because this adventure is about to get exciting! As we hit the road, remember that it’s not just about reaching the destination; it’s the scenic detours, the pit stops, and the unexpected turns that make the journey memorable. So, keep your eyes on the roadmap, and let’s drive towards your dreams with passion and purpose. Your destination is waiting, and we’re here to make sure you arrive there with pride and accomplishment!
We can all adopt some research-based strategies for achieving our goals:
- Make a SMART goal. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Such goals direct attention and motivate persistence.
- Announce the goal to friends or family. We’re more likely to follow through after making a public commitment.
- Develop an implementation plan. Be specific about when, where, and how you’ll progress towards your goal. People who flush out goals with detailed plans become more focused and more likely to succeed. It’s better to concentrate on small steps than to fantasize about the marathon.
- Create short term rewards that support long term goals. Although delayed rewards motivate us to set goals, immediate rewards best predict our persistence towards those goals.
- Monitor and record progress. If striving for more exercise, use a wearable fitness tracker or enter your activity in a fitness app. It’s even more motivating when progress is shared rather than kept secret.
- Create a supportive environment. When focusing on a project, hole up in the library. When sleeping, stash the phone. Have your gym bag ready the night before. Such “situational self-control strategies” prevent tempting impulses.
- Transform the hard to do behavior into a must do habit. Habits form when we repeat behaviors in a given context. As our behavior becomes linked with the context, our next experience of that context evokes our habitual response. Do something everyday for about two months and see it become an ingrained habit.
To achieve important life goals, we often know what to do. We know that a full night’s sleep boosts our alertness, energy, and mood. We know that exercise lessens depression and anxiety, builds muscle, strengthens our heart and mind. We know that what we put into our body (junk food or balanced nutrition/ addictive substances or clean air) affects our health and longevity. By taking these seven steps-resolving, announcing, planning, rewarding, monitoring, controlling, and persistently acting; we can create a bridge between the idea and the reality.