3 Steps to Healthy Goal Setting
Goal setting involves the development of an action plan designed in order to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal.
Goals are more deliberate than desires and momentary intentions. Therefore, setting goals means that a person has committed thought, emotion, and behavior towards attaining the goal.
Though goals in and of themselves are good to set to create change and motivate action in your life, too often we set goals that are not in alignment with our true self or the realities of our life demands.
This is where today’s topic of HEALTHY GOAL SETTING COMES in.
We must shift from simply ‘goal setting’, into setting healthy goals that incorporate mindfulness. This brings in awareness of our present reality and detachment from our judgments and ego so we can set goals that align with our inner self and future well-being.
1. Who am I right now?
Who am I? Is the most important decision you will ever make in this lifetime.
Your answer to who you believe you really are will determine your values, your priorities and the way you live your life.
And the beauty of living with a focus on growth is that the answer to ‘Who am I?’ is always emerging.
This is the question that you must examine before embarking on goal setting in order to see success.
Who you are now, is not who you were 10 years ago, or even last week.
If you want to achieve your goals, you must set ones that are attainable for who you are – right now, for real.
This is why developing inner fitness and having a foundation of mindfulness is essential. Inner fitness through mindfulness allows you to be aware of the present without judgment.
When you are mindful, you activate your inner self and begin detaching from your ego.
Your ego is your outer self who projects who you ‘should’ be in relation to the world and outside influence.
The ego is often portrayed as negative, but it is a natural symptom of being human. To develop peace and control in your life, the awareness and detachment from the ego (insert mindfulness) allows your inner, true self to flourish.
To help guide you in this process, allow me to share what led me to teach this 3-step format for healthy goal setting.
In 2021, I set a goal for losing weight that ended with me gaining weight and at the endocrinologist learning that I had inflamed my body while breaking my spirit.
I learned a lot from that lesson and this process is a reflection of that learning.
When I set my weight loss goal, I was completely disconnected from my current reality of who I was at that time.
I knew that I wasn’t happy, and I was attached to the number on the scale.
I was 15 pounds heavier than three years prior when I was at my lowest weight in my adult life.
I set a goal of getting back to that weight, and losing 15 pounds. (I had lost 65 pounds to get to my lowest weight, and was still maintaining the 50 pound loss, so I thought it would all happen again and would be “easy”.)
In true New Year’s fashion – I went nuclear on this goal.
I not only completely shifted my nutrition into a calorie restriction, I dove from a completely sedentary lifestyle into a daily workout program with strength training and cardio.
In many scenarios, when doing these extreme measures, I would quickly fall off the changes in a few weeks, but this time, I completed a full 9-week program of exercise and diet.
The result – weight gain and swelling.
Why? …I never addressed or was aware of – Who am I now?
If I had, I would have realized that I was (and am) deep into healing and recovery that I had not been on when at my lowest weight. In fact, at my lowest weight, I was the least mentally healthy I had been in the last decade and was consistently engaging in disordered eating.
Another significant change is that I now live with an autoimmune disease that has brought on many symptoms – including early menopause, and my body and energy have completely shifted.
If I had answered the question of – Who am I now? I would have been able to connect with my current reality to create truly realistic and supportive goals to work towards.
2. Shift from what you want to ‘see’ into – How do I want to FEEL?
Once you have an awareness, even be it small, of who you are right now, begin asking what you want to feel?
The energy behind a goal matters in being able to manifest it into your life.
When you incorporate your feelings, you are working with your inner self over your ego. And as the ego comes from the ‘outside’ – lasting change grows from the inside, out.
My weight loss goal of 2021 came from my ego, from the outside. I didn’t feel good, but I thought I wanted to LOOK more attractive. I wanted to HAVE a lower number on the scale. I wanted to BE thinner.
It would have better served me to mindfully examine the fact that I didn’t feel good. If I don’t feel good now, how do I want to FEEL in the future?
Identifying that I want to FEEL strong, energized, healthy, confident… this perspective shift works from the inside.
Note: the end goal may be the same (i.e. weight loss), but the energy behind the goal matters in invoking that change.
3. What do I need to HAVE in order to create what I want to FEEL?
This is where the actual goal-setting takes form.
Now that you are aware of who you are right now, and how you want to feel in the future… what goal or goals would support this shift?
It is now 2022 and I am in a similar place of discomfort in my body as I was a year ago. As I have unpacked the reality of who I am now (and interjected love and acceptance into that step) and how I want to feel (strong, energized, healthy & confident) – I now can identify what I need to have to feel the way I want to feel.
I need to improve the ways that I fuel and restore my body. I need to hydrate properly and eat foods that fuel me. I need to not only move more, but rest more.
I can shift those needs into tangible outcomes such as:
- I will drink ___ amount of ounces of water in a day.
- I will eliminate ____(gluten, dairy, soda, ice cream) from my diet.
- I will eat ___servings of vegetables.
- I will do yoga ___ times per week.
- I will go for a walk ___ times per week.
- I will get ___ hours of sleep each night.
- I will schedule down time to rest/play on ___.
The trick is to play with those outcomes to find one or two to experiment with. Grow success by getting curious and going small to then build more shifts in the future.
…but that is our next topic of ‘Building New Habits’ which we will dive into next week.
This week, just focus on Healthy Goal Setting and the rest will follow.
Remember that I am here to support you on this journey of wellness.
If you are a woman, you can join the Weekly Wellness Workshops on Thursdays at 7pm CST over Zoom for a half hour of mindfulness practice and learning. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on that list.
You can also book a Reiki session, or begin with a free consult call to talk about your wellness journey, by scheduling here.
Be well and mindful in all things – especially your goals.
With love and light,
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