Committing to a healthier lifestyle is one of the best ways to practice self-care.
Drinking more water, finding time to meditate, sticking to an exercise routine, or incorporating more leafy greens and less sugar into our daily diets can help us feel our best, but health and wellness goals are not always so easy to keep, even when we know they make us feel better overall.
That’s probably because we can easily imagine the amazing outcome, but fail to delve into the details of the less-exciting subtle tweaks and new habits that it’ll take to get there. Being realistic is half the battle.
So instead of setting one lofty goal and living in the fantasy of a better future self, try something different this time.
Good goals come with plans, keep you accountable, and establish a path that makes it all manageable. They incorporate daily habits and mindset changes that add up, over time, to the results we all dream of.
Here’s how to set health and wellness goals that will actually work, and how to put them in motion.
Setting a goal
Have you ever set a health and wellness goal at the beginning of the year and fallen off the wagon by March or April? Statistics show that about 80% of people who set a goal will have dropped it by the second week of February.
There are lots of reasons why setting a resolution at the beginning of the year (or a goal at any time, really) doesn’t work out.
You might be setting a goal too lofty to achieve in your real life, or you might not know how to keep yourself accountable over time when new habits feel tiresome. You might feel the draw of your old lifestyle after a while - your well-worn habits will feel more comfortable and natural than new ones, even if you know they aren't good for you.
Psychologists say there’s a better way than just telling yourself you’ll do something and then attempting to stick with it. They endorse SMART Goals, a plan that was originally penned by George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company in 1981.
It’s been easier to stick to a goal ever since, thanks to George.
The acronym SMART stands for:
- Specific: These are the details. Try to answer: who/what/when/where/how about your goal.
- Measurable: Include what measurements you’ll use (like time, distance, etc.) and how you’ll track progress.
- Attainable: Do you have access to the resources you'll need to reach this goal?
- Relevant: Why this goal? How does it relate to the outcome you want to achieve? Does it fit in with the rest of your life?
- Time-bound: Every good goal needs a finish line, or you risk chipping away at it forever without getting anywhere. What's your deadline? (Keeping in mind, you can have many mini-deadlines within a larger goal.)
When brainstorming a goal, use the SMART plan to flesh out all of the details in advance. Doing so will help you avoid getting stuck in a rut or setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
Simply put: you avoid the trap of being too vague! Instead of telling yourself you’re going to work out more (how much is "more"?), find time for mindfulness (how much time? where will it come from?), or eat fewer sweets (what does fewer mean? 1 a week? none at all?), you create a manageable plan.
We are big fans of SMART Goals, because they work as easily in your personal life as they do in your professional life. Grab this Ink+Volt SMART Goals Worksheet to easily organize a plan for whatever you want to accomplish.
With health and wellness goals, a little bit of planning can help you feel confident that you’re on the right track to a healthier lifestyle.
Finding the right tools
SMART Goals are a great starting point, but a little extra definition can make the difference in keeping you motivated and on track. After all, not all goals can be quantified and achieved in the same way. Adding more self-care into your weekly routine isn’t quite the same as training to run a big race or committing to a strict diet.
Luckily, we have a few tools that’ll help you no matter what your goals have in store for you.
No matter how much you want to add self-care to your life, if you're not willing to change your habits and routines to accommodate it, it is not going to happen.
Self-care often takes a backseat when balancing work and personal life, but this worksheet makes it a bit easier. It helps you brainstorm strategies for making self-care a real part of your life, from finding supportive social networks to taking care of your soul and prioritizing your financial safety. This is a great way to begin outlining new routines that contribute to your well-being.
Need something a little bit more structured? This Ink+Volt 30-day challenge worksheet helps you get on top of your physical self-care in 30 days. It’s like a self-care bootcamp, reminding you to get enough sleep, stretch throughout the day, and nourish your body. For the super-stressed or very busy, this worksheet introduces balance back into your life.
Round out your wellness goals with the Self-Care Pad, which reminds you daily that it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup and gives you space to reflect on what you need (and how to get it). Checking in with yourself regularly can help you attain your wellness goals and keep you on track.
Food and exercise
If your goals include fitness or a healthier diet, it’s always a good idea to make some time for planning, even in the more specific parts of our goals. For example, meal planning. Nutritious, home-cooked meals can help support a variety of wellness goals, but finding the time to meal prep can be tricky.
The Ink+Volt Meal Planning Pad takes away all the guesswork of health meal planning with a built-in tear-off shopping list so you can brainstorm epic meals and easily create a take-it-with-you list to shop with.
Sometimes it really is the simplest things that help us actually achieve our goals. Anything you can do to remove minor hurdles from your path will help you succeed.
With fitness, there’s a variety of apps and trackers that will tell you how fast you’ve run or how many reps you’ve put in, but when it comes to fitness progress week over week, you just can’t beat pen, paper, and personal reflection.
The Progress Pad was built for goal-makers, and it’s really versatile. Use it for tracking a busy work schedule or how you’re doing with your fitness. A 7-day log helps you view the week at a glance, manage your time, and keep a pulse on how you feel about the process. Being able to take a step back and view the work you’ve put in and how it’s paying off can be a huge motivator.
What are your health and wellness goals? Share them with us (and how you’re achieving them!) on our Instagram page @inkandvolt.