The “Why” & “How” Of Wellness Goal-Setting
The advent of a New Year is usually the time when the pitch around words like ‘goals’ and ‘resolutions’ picks up. New beginnings, new hopes, desire to break away from the old, or build upon it… form some of the underlying sentiments while making personal resolutions. Our individual needs to provide emotional impetus, but without clarity and structure, these goals can soon wither away. And they do, as I have observed for many people. It’s not always for want of trying. Rather, the cause is often trying haphazardly.
As with business, with goals and resolutions too, it helps to work backward from the macro to the micro perspective, rather than the other way around. This helps in formulating clearer objectives, sharper problem statements, and desired outcomes. Consider the following 2 goal statements as examples to predict efficacy and success rate in achieving final outcomes:
- “This year, I want to lose some weight.”
- “This year, I want to lose 10 kg of weight.”
Which one do you think is more likely to achieve the goal and succeed? Why?
Goal/Resolution #1 is open-ended, with no specificity. How much is “some”? How do we design and adopt a plan to hit this “some”? How do we break it up into smaller, achievable milestones? How do we know when we have achieved it? This statement is not conducive for success and achievement from the word go. With a clearer objective as in Goal/Resolution #2, we can get cracking on the next set of steps to assess the current health conditions, dietary and exercise habits, constraints if any, and start mapping smaller targets to timelines to draw actionable plans that will help achieve the desired quantum of weight loss.
Ask Yourself “Why?”
This is a foundation question in goal setting, and its absence can ruin the process. Every time a client approaches me (individual or corporate) during the initial meeting, I ask them why they have chosen a goal. Over the years, their answers (or lack of) have made me acutely aware that many don’t delve into the real reasons behind their aspirations, resolutions, or decisions. My next question is, “Is this your own goal or a borrowed one?” The second is to gently prod for external influences overriding internal reflections and need.
Referring again to the example above, some stronger reasons for weight loss could be, “I want to lose 10 kg because:”
- It will help improve my health and fitness;
- Make me less prone to illness/diseases;
- Allow me to enjoy a longer, stronger and active life with my family members.
- My family depends on me and my well-being.
- This is an achievable target, I feel.
- Once I get there, I will be able to progress to my next set of goals more confidently.”
Each of these can be a sub (micro) goal in itself, contributing to the macro statement.
Once the ‘why’ is clear, the next stage is how to go about selecting and setting resolutions. A few suggestions:
- Break the bigger goal into smaller ones. It makes it less daunting and provides multiple checkpoints to stay on track.
- Classify goals into categories if possible. This will help select other augmenting modalities to achieve them better and/or faster.
- If goals lend themselves to quantification, quantify them. It leads to clearer targets vis-a-vis vague generalities.
- Think non-linear – what do you want to add, and what is it that no longer serves a purpose and should be done away with. It helps keep goals holistic.
- Be realistic. Recognize and accept that change won’t happen overnight. There could be setbacks, and one needs to work around them rather than cave in frustration. This also broadens and deepens perspective and allows for growth in challenges.
- Do a frank assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Being in touch with your true self is a major prerequisite to achieving anything in life, resolutions included.
Proper goal setting can set a good tone for chasing them and enjoying better results for your Health and Wellness. So go ahead and actually stick to your resolutions this New Year!
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in