Becoming the Happiest, Healthiest You: How to Set Health Goals
Planning and setting goals is so important. It motivates and inspires us to accomplish great things! Do we make plans for summer vacation? Yes! Summer fun, here we come! Future goals for our home? Sure! Family planning? Absolutely!
However, when it comes to healthcare, I’ve found that many people don’t have a plan. I often ask my patients what their health goals are. Two common responses are, “I don’t know,” or “To be healthier.”
I encourage my patients to set some specific goals and start making plans on how to reach them! Here are my favorite tips.
1. Dream a little.
Reflect on the areas of your health that you feel are holding you back. Here are a few examples:
- Do you wish you didn’t feel out of breath so quickly?
- Are you often tired due to poor sleep habits?
- Would a healthier diet make you feel better?
Imagine what your life could be like if just one of those things changed!
2. Set specific and measurable goals.
Set clear, well-defined goals that are easy to track. For example, instead of saying "exercise more," specify a measurable target like "exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week." I also recommend starting with smaller, obtainable goals, and then expanding.
After that, establish a reasonable timeline. This will help you stay consistent and on-track! For long-term objectives, break them down into smaller milestones to celebrate along the way.
3. Write them down.
Putting your goals in writing increases commitment and accountability. You could even create a visual reminder by hanging them where you'll see them regularly.
For example, if you want to eat 3 servings of veggies per day, tack that goal on your fridge! This will help you will remember to choose that bag of carrots instead of the pudding cup when you need a snack.
4. Have fun!
Find fun ways to work your goals into your routine. For example, if you want to exercise more, here are some ideas:
- If you have young kids, try out a yoga app for kids (like Yoga for Kids Daily Fitness) and make it a family activity.
- If you have older kids, set up a fun family competition to see who can get the most steps in.
- We live in a gorgeous area! Take your family down to the Lakewalk. You can get an easy three miles in and enjoy all the rustic beauty our community has to offer.
5. Find your cheerleaders.
Share your goals with friends and family who can help cheer you on! Also, don’t forget to share your health goals with your primary care provider. We can connect you with resources and help you stay on track.
Primary care in Duluth
A primary care provider is a great partner in your goals – someone who understands your whole story and your healthcare needs. I want to encourage you to live a healthy life and can also make sure you’re up-to-date on all your routine health screening recommendations.