Today we begin a three-part series on goals. I have worked with many adults who initially felt silly writing down their goals for better health and wellness. ‘The doctor says I need to lower my blood pressure, so just tell me what I’ve gotta do,’ they’d say. All my talk about goal-setting gets in the way of their, well, goals.
When I explain that it’s a step-wise process, and that once you understand the health condition you are addressing you can then begin to design very small goals toward that end, some clients are still impatient with the process. Luckily, though, people are kind and sometimes they humor me. And then a funny thing happens: once they started seeing results, they realize that goal-setting isn’t a gimmick, it’s a tool for anyone who has a serious objective in mind.
One of the reasons that so many of us come to the health coaching desk with skepticism—or don’t come at all—is our frustration with past efforts to change our health. Health goals in a media-driven culture are largely unrealistic and not based in healthy practices at all. Goals that are based on product advertising masquerading as a health message, are not achievable or sustainable.
Instinctively we know this, since so many of us have tried and failed to achieve the standards set for us on TV, social media and magazines. Yet we continue to strive for an elusive body type or lifestyle and seek immediate satisfaction in these efforts because we are continually bombarded with messages that we are inferior if we don’t. We are subtlety nudged out of the mainstream through marketing, pricing and services if our values don’t align with those that we see in the media.
And so of course we come to our health journey with a sense of exhaustion—a sense that we are doomed from the start. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By following a process that uncovers the values that you hold for yourself—not that advertising has forced on you—you can begin to cut your path toward what you want for your personal health and wellness.
When they are custom designed with realistic expectations, goals are the rungs on the ladder to where you want to go. In the next post, we will go over the exact formula for setting goals that you can actually achieve. We will wrap up the series in our third post with the secret ingredient to tie it all together—the one question that we must continually ask ourselves to maintain and build upon our success.
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