How to Make Realistic Health Goals As A Busy Mom
It can be frustrating when you’ve been trying to live a healthy lifestyle, increase your energy, maybe lose a few pounds or feel better in your favourite jeans, but nothing seems to be working. You feel like you’ve tried every plan and fitness style on the planet over the years. Now you’re not even sure you what to try or even how to get to your goal. Does that sound familiar?
The first step is to make realistic and measurable goals.
Step 1 – Know Your Goals and Be Specific
Be specific when coming up with your goal. “I want to lose weight” is not a specific goal. “I will lose 20 pounds by September 30th” is a specific and measurable goal. “I want to feel better” is not a specific goal. “I want to be able to have the energy to play outside with my kids for as long as they want to,” or “I want to run a 5k on October 10th” are specific goals.
Step 2 – Know Your Why
What is a “why” when it comes to goal setting? It’s WHY you are doing what you are doing, why you want to make a change, why you are starting a new behaviour. You’ll need to know “your why” when things get challenging. Any journey has a few hurdles and challenges to overcome along the way, and by knowing your reasons for making a change or starting something – and making them compelling enough – you’ll stick to your goal. Everyone’s reasons are different, so really think about yours.
Your reasons could be such things as being able to go on a bike ride with your children without becoming winded. Or maybe losing weight because your last check up in the doctor’s office showed an elevated blood pressure reading and you don’t want to have to take medication.
Whatever your reasons are make sure you become clear on them.
Step 3 – Write Them Down
Writing a goal down makes it more tangible. You see it in front of you. Keep a notebook, or put post-its anywhere you will see them, to keep them top of mind. Rachel Hollis (author of Girl Wash your Face) writes hers down every single day, and she writes them as if they’ve already been accomplished. For example, “I am maintaining my 20lb weight loss,” or “I am a runner and I have run several 5k races.” Or “I am an energetic mom who feels great and plays with my kids whenever they ask.” And on this track – write your why down too. This is a very personal thing, but writing it down makes it real.
Step 4 – Create a Plan of Action
If your goal is weight loss, break it down into manageable milestones. For example, if you’ve decided that losing 20 pounds in 16 weeks is doable, you make a plan of action. First take the number of pounds and divide by the number of weeks. This would mean just a little over a pound a week. Where are your biggest roadblocks? Is it exercise or nutrition? That will tell you where to focus your efforts. If your goal is running a 5k, find a free “couch to 5k” plan or app that breaks your training schedule into manageable steps. If your goal is to have more energy to play with your kids, your plan of action will involve figuring out where the “energy sucks” are in your life. Are you eating well? Getting enough sleep?
Making a plan isn’t enough. You actually have to start working on it. The best plan in the world won’t achieve results if no one takes ACTION. And the action doesn’t have to be massive. Even small changes each day will show huge results in the weeks and months to come.
In a world with so many things to do, kids to manage and pandemics to worry about—just kidding, thank god there’s only one of those right now—let’s find one thing to count on that will help you focus on yourself when things are tough.
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