Smiling young sporty woman checking smartwatch in park. She is sitting on bench during daytime. Female is in sportswear. Athlete is representing healthy lifestyle.

Setting and Achieving Health Goals

Checking smartwatch dataIf you’ve ever been ready to make a change to improve your health, but you weren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. Here are a few things to consider to help you set and achieve your health goals:

  • Check in with your doctor. Your primary care doctor can help you figure out which health goals may be best for you to start with and ensure your goals are healthy and realistic. This is also a great time to find out if any screenings, exams, or tests may be needed or can help you track your progress. If your goal is to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol levels, for example, your doctor is a great resource.
  • Think SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and t Using this as a guideline is a great way to set yourself up for success. You can get more information about setting SMART goals at PacificSource.com/HealthGoals/SMART.pdf.
  • Ask yourself why. While you’re figuring out what the best health goal is for you, ask yourself: “Why is this goal important to me?” Whatever your answer, ask yourself “Why?” again. Doing this a few times can help you get to the root of what’s really important to you and your health and can help you stay committed to reaching your goal.
  • Focus on behaviors. When you set a goal, think about the behavior changes involved in achieving that goal. Want to lose weight? Try setting a goal to eat smaller portion sizes, or dine out less often. Remember to be specific.
  • Start small. Think about your goal, and pick one small thing—one behavior change—that will help you succeed with that goal. Practice that activity or behavior change for a week or two, or as long as it takes to become a comfortable part of your routine. After about two weeks, ask yourself how that change has helped you progress toward achieving your goal.
  • Be realistic. Choose behavior changes that align with things you like. If running isn’t your idea of fun, then getting yourself to run several times a week may not be a good choice for you. Being realistic about what you will and will not do will improve your adherence—the likelihood that you’ll stick with it.
  • Track your progress. This can be simple or detailed—whatever works for you, as long as you can gauge your progress. Be honest. Tracking setbacks can also be beneficial because it helps you identify things you can do to improve and achieve your goals.
  • Be nice to yourself. When you slip up, acknowledge it and learn from it, but don’t let it bring you down. Build yourself up rather than tear yourself down, and put a positive spin on difficult situations and setbacks.
  • Challenge yourself. When you challenge yourself and push yourself, you’re building yourself up to be better than you were yesterday. Just be sure to find the line between challenging yourself and overdoing it.
  • Be patient. Change takes time. Staying patient will help you not only achieve your goals, but also build healthy habits into your lifestyle. In a lot of cases, this will help prevent the “yo-yo” effect that many people experience when setting health goals.

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