We are halfway through 2018. If one is to conduct a personal assessment, now would be a perfect time. Many of us drafted our new year resolutions at the beginning of the year. Naturally, we have goals to grow our finances, start or grow businesses, have great relationships, get married or start dating, but seldom do we have goals pertaining our health and wellness.
From a very early age, we have been conditioned to think about health momentarily or temporarily as necessitated by sickness or circumstances. For instance, when we notice we are getting abit out of shape, then we are prompted to go on a diet, or when you are sick is when you think about taking probiotics or vitamins. Rarely, do we make it a lifestyle to take care of our health.
It is important that we make our health a priority so that we can maximize our life span and live happier and healthier.
What is a health goal?
It is an aspect that provides direction towards the improvement of one’s health and lifestyle and hence enabling one to carry on with their lives normally.
Truth is, we can plan to excel in all areas of our lives but without good health, you cannot achieve any of your plans. We have all witnessed a friend who couldn’t keep a job, friends or family because they had an illness or disease which could have been captured early and dealt with. It could be a Non-Communicable disease (NCD) mostly caused by our lifestyles, a mental illness that sprout from an ignored depression phase or major stress just to mention but a few.
Setting Health Goals
Now that you know the importance of setting a health goal, here are factors that you should consider when setting health goals;
- Conduct a full body check up to find out your current health statistics- i.e weight, height, BMI, current conditions, etc. This will help you set SMART health goals that you can track after 6-12 months once you conduct another body check.
- Do you have a fitness regime? Do you exercise? How often?
iii. Do you have a nutrition plan? What do you eat? Drink? How often? How many glasses of water do you drink?
- How many hours of sleep do you get per night? Are you frequently tired or do you have energy all the time?
- Do you often feel down, stressed, depressed or alone?
- Do you have bad habits that you wish to stop? Alcoholism? Drugs?
vii. What is your family health history like? Are there any recurrent illnesses? Any genetic disorders or diseases?
viii. Do you make time for recreation? What are your preferred recreational activities? Does it include binge eating and drinking?
- Do you have work-life balance? How many hours per day do you work? Do you bring work home? Do you utilize your leave days for rest? Are you organized and productive or do you find yourself too tired to meet your obligations?
Once you have a basic overview of the above, you are able to grade yourself and set SMART goals that you can track and review after a set period of time.
It is also important that you read and research a lot on the above aspects to enable you set realistic health goals. For instance; you should understand your body’s metabolism and how diets affect it, stress management, how many hors of sleep you should get, best forms of exercise for different body areas, among others.
What would your health goals look like?
- Incorporate exercise in your daily routine- Ensure you have 30-60 minutes of physical activity at least 3-5 days a week.
- Get adequate rest- Sleep 7-8 hours daily. Have a set time for sleeping.
iii. Mindful eating- choose healthy fats, avoid processed and fried foods, eat more plant-based foods, eat more whole grains and cereals, drink 8 glasses of water daily.
- Break a habit- could be alcoholism- plan to have only two glasses of wine or two beers per month, quit smoking.
- Spend quality time with friends and family- do not carry work home. Plan to be home by 7pm. Weekends are for family.
- Choose to be happy and positive. Laugh and smile a lot, be happy, make someone else happy or smile by doing something good.
vii. Spiritual wholeness- set aside time for spiritual nourishment. 10 minutes to reflect, refill and pray every day.
Monitor and Evaluate
According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychologist at the University of London college, it takes exactly 66 days t build a habit. Therefore, to achieve your health goals, keep doing them for at least two months and you will get into a healthstyle.
Monitor your achievements every 3 months and have another overall health assessment every 6 month to 12 months.
In the digital era we live in, it is even easier for us to set and evaluate our health goals as there are a variety of apps available based on the goal you want to achieve. Incorporate this for a more effective and efficient way of living a healthier lifestyle.1