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7 habits of highly healthy people part 2: Set goals

You have heard the proverb ‘Every journey starts with a single step’. This is very true and the journey seems so much more achievable if the destination is set and the route is planned and clear. Goal setting is an important part of the change process, as without a destination you can never arrive.

It is a very worthwhile process to sit down and find time to dig down into the detail of what you want: What is it that you would like to do if you were as fit and healthy as you could be? What specifically would you want to look and feel like? How would you like to behave? How would you like to be perceived by others? How would your life be different if you were in peak condition?

The answers to these questions will be individual to you but a few examples of goals I have helped others achieve in the past include:

To maintain optimum weight and blood pressure for longevity of life.
To have the energy and ability to climb Kilimanjaro.
To be a perfect 10.
To be able to run the Great Wall of China.

Once you have built a picture of what it is you want to achieve, you need to identify a way to measure your progress towards the goal and settle on a realistic time frame in which you will achieve it. Once you have the bigger picture in clear view you can begin the process of ‘chunking down’. Chunking down is dividing the overall goal into smaller, more manageable chunks. These are often referred to as process goals.

Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One mouthful at a time.

Process goals provide us with the short term focus we need to remain motivated. Motivation should be rewarded and recognised or it will fade. Once you have identified your process goals, decide on how you will reward your efforts when you achieve them. The reward can be anything that you know will motivate you and perhaps be proportionate to the amount of time and effort that you invested in attaining your goal. In the past I have seen people reward themselves with TV’s, cars, food, clothes, holidays and more.

A great example I use as a short term goal and reward is a ‘reward meal’. Each week I have a plan that consists of nutritional guidelines and a set number of workouts. If I make it through the week having completed the full programme I get my reward meal. My reward meal is as much food and drink (of any description) that I can eat in one sitting. I can enjoy my meal guilt free, knowing that I have earned the right to do so. Should I not complete the programme, however, the reward meal gets skipped. The important lesson here is that, whatever the outcome, there is a consequence that I have committed myself to. If you haven’t already, check out my article on Reward Meals.

Highly healthy people have a long term plan. That long term plan is kept alive through their focus on process goals and the rewards they allow themselves along the way.

“The main thing is to always have a plan; if it is not the best plan, it is at least better than no plan at all.” – General Sir John Monash.

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