Life and Health Goals-How to Pick Them, How to Stick with Them

resolutions, intentions

By Val Silver

When we think of making life and health goals, be they intentions borne of some kind of frustration or wake up call, resolutions such as losing weight, saving money, getting healthier, and finding a beau come to mind.

As worthy as these aspirations may be, and as much as you might mean, "I am going to...", most people break these promises to themselves within the first two months. Half don't last three days, if they get started at all.

Negative, I know. And true. So let's get that behind us so we can learn how to pick goals you feel inspired to stick with it. I want you to be one of the few people who create the happier, healthier life you want and to make it easier than you thought possible. 

Why life and health goals are difficult to stick with

There are a number of reasons life and health goals fizzle out. A few that come to mind are:

  • you really don't care about it - maybe  you decide to pursue a goal because someone else thinks you should or you know you should. As important as it may be to your health, your motivation and inspiration to achieve it is lacking from the start. IE: you know you should stop smoking, but you really don't want to and the health dangers are not real or scary enough yet.
  • you fail to plan - there is an old saying, "Fail to plan, plan to fail." Very true.
  • your goal and/or your plan are not specific enough - if you say, I want to be happy or I want to lose weight, what does that mean? What does it look like, feel like? How much weight and why?
  • you primarily rely on willpower - determination will power you through for a few weeks. When that weakens, your subconscious programming and its ingrained habits take back over.
  • you try to do too much too soon - your subconscious mind does not like change. Too much change too fast uses up willpower quickly and gets overwhelming. An exception to this if you have a significant scare or trauma that jolts your SCM to accept a more comprehensive change quickly.
  • you go it alone - encouragement from supportive others, and tools and techniques that foster easier change boost your chances of success.
  • your resolution is really just a means to what you want - this is a common and big mistake that greatly reduces your odds of lasting success right from the start. Get this right and the rest is easier. 

What is your real intention?

The fact is - as important as resolutions are, they are often not your real intention or desire. They may be vital to your health and happiness. They may be important to you, to others, to the world, but they are not what is driving you. Most often they are intermediary life or health goals. We have been taught to view them as end goals instead of a means to what we truly want. Therefore your motivation and inspiration to achieve them is lacking from the start. 

What you really want is a feeling.

Say what? Think about it. Your satisfaction or dissatisfaction about a situation boils down to how you feel about it. Ask yourself why you want a thing and eventually you  come to a feeling. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • Do you want to lose weight (who ever wants to diet and lose weight?) or do you want to look and feel great in your body and in your clothes? 
  • Do you year to go to bed earlier or do you want to feel energetic and rested when you wake up? 
  • Do you want to meditate for 20 minutes a day or do you want to feel calm, focused and more peaceful?
  • Do you have a strong desire to work at the soup kitchen every Saturday or do you want to feel good about yourself, or feel that your life matters and you are making a positive difference in the world?

This is why we seldom stick to life or health goals. Worthy as your aspirations may be, they do not inspire or touch you deeply inside.

“I would love to express a happy new year. I think a happy new year is not just party and some cake, some wine—not only that. I think a happy new year should include peace of mind and a happy mind.” ~the Dalai Lama

Resolutions as a Stepping Stone

Resolutions (by whatever name you want to call them) are necessary steps to your real life and health goals. If you look at them that way, you may feel more inspired and motivated to make them happen. 

Tip: Explore different ways to get to the feeling you want instead of sticking with default options that may or may not be in your best interest. Check in with your inner wisdom and reliable resources. What are they telling you?

I will say this about health, though. Having good health is a vital part of just about every goal you have.It is a step you cannot skip for long. For most of us, health is not a priority, but what it does for us, is a priority.

Without a well-functioning body and mind, achieving other goals is more difficult. Being sick, tired and in pain robs some, or a lot, of the energy, focus and resources you need to pursue what you want. You may get away with years of lack of sleep, or overeating junk food or lack of exercise (note to self here), but eventually it will catch up with you and interfere with how you really want to feel and be living your life.

So I urge you to have health goals as part of the plan to achieving your feeling goals. 

To help you figure out which healthy steps are most important to start with, take the health quiz/assessment. It is self-scoring and only takes a few minutes.Then choose one or two tiny steps to implement before adding new ones. There is more info about this in the guide. (You also get other free resources from me with it).

Share your results and action steps in the comment section of this facebook post so we can cheer you on and support you. Writing you goal and sharing it at least double your chance of sticking with it long-term.

Posted by Val Silver on Sunday, January 1, 2017

Look Back, Look Forward

Looking back over where you've been can help you define what you do and don't want for the future. You can do this any time of year. The beginning of a calendar year is a good reminder to take time to reflect, say happy or sad farewells to the past, and look forward to the future with hope. 

The following exercise will guide you through the process. You will look back over the last year (or whatever time period you choose) to celebrate your highlights and successes. You will look at how you made them happen as well as challenges you faced. Then you will decide how to start making your life and health goals a reality.

One Look Back, Two Steps Forward Meditation/Exercise

All you need for this exercise is a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, about 15-20 minutes, and a  willingness to go through the process honestly with judgment-free awareness. It will be time and energy well spent. Have in mind the feeling you want more of as you think of your successes, challenges and what you want going forward. Enjoy!

Goal Setting (and Keeping) Tips

Here are five tips to help you specify the life and health goals you want and how to move in that direction. 

1-Be clear about what you don't and do want

Knowing what you don't want is usually easier to figure out than identifying what you do want. A lot of times I ask, "What do you want?" and I get a list of don't wants. List what you don't want on a piece of paper or word doc. Also write all the reasons you don't want it. Get to the feeling behind it. 

Then write down what you want instead. "I want..." Why do you want it? How will that feel?

Clear counter-intentions to your life and health goals.

These are the beliefs, thought patterns, subconscious programs, fears that will eventually sabotage your efforts. Write them down. Don't worry about being negative. You need to be honest with yourself if you want to shift these patterns. 

Use an emotional release technique such as EFT tapping, ho' oponopono, NLP or other favorite method to clear the negative and shift to more affirming beliefs that support your intentions and desires.

life and health goals

Visualize and feel yourself succeeding at your life and health goals.

Images are the language of the subconscious mind. Visualize, affirm and feel yourself at your goal. Really get into it as if you already have it. 

Tip: If you are a visual person, you may want to create a vision board. This is a fun, simple tool to make. Include pictures and written affirmations of you desired feeling and steps you plan to take to make it a reality.  Look at your vision board  throughout the day to keep you mindful of your intentions.

Related LinkLearn how to make and use a vision board here.

Be open to the how of fulfilling your intentions

Release the need to make your aspiration happen in a certain way. Be open to ideas and opportunities that come your way and feel right. Experiment, be willing to tweak and try new things. To give up on a means to your true goal that isn't working is smart, not failure. Try something else or make a change to how you are doing it and see if that helps.

Speaking of action. For the most part, the best actions to reach a goal are small steps and changes you can hook onto other habits. Keep adding them. 

For example, a first step toward improving your diet may be to substitute stevia and almond milk for sugar or artificial sweetener and non-dairy creamer. If that's too much, just do one. Then swap out the other in a few weeks. 

If have the habit of awfulizing everything, make a change in your language. Instead of saying, "I hate my job" say, " I don't like___ and ___ about my job." Eventually you may be able to add, "and I do like ___ about my job." These are first steps.

What you decide to do next is up to you. Be willing to take inspired action. If a feel-good actionable thought pops into your head, follow through on it as soon as possible. I have found this a sure way to adding happiness and fulfillment to my day. It always seems to be about saying or doing something kind or positive for myself or someone else. 

Another option is to start your day by connecting with your inner self. Ask for three action steps to take that day to move you closer to your ultimate goal or to experience it. Make them happen. 

As you learn to tap into your inner wisdom and follow it, you will find its lead trustworthy and fulfilling. 

Work with and not against your brain

You can have the best intentions, the most carefully thought out plan and a powerful commitment and still fizzle out on your life and health goals in short order. This is not your fault and you are not alone. It is how your brain works. Thankfully you can do something about it. 

Here a few basic facts you need to know about your brain:

  1. Your brain, specifically the subconscious, does not like "forced" change. It does not try to sabotage you. It tries to keep you safe by keeping you in the comfort zone. It does not logic or reason this. Like a programmed computer, it does what it knows and wants you to do the same.
  2. All your negative thoughts and behaviors come from your brain. So do all your positive thoughts, qualities and actions.
  3. Scientists know which parts of the brain are involved in the negative qualities you don't want and the positive qualities you do want. They also know a lot about how to influence those parts of the brain to change.
  4. Even though your brain seems resistant to change, it is changing all the time. It is amazingly malleable or "plastic". Scientists can see synapses strengthening and reforming as the brain changes with new learning and experiences.

Resource: Neurogym 

If you would like help getting your brain to change in ways you want, check out Neurogym. This scientifically developed program teaches you how to retrain your mind, strengthen your inner game, and learn new tools to get past challenges and improve your performance.  

I encourage you to sign up for one or more of these free trainings if they are aligned with your life or health goals. They teach you how to shift these concerns at the brain level. You will learn tips and effective techniques to easily implement right away.

Related Links: If you are experiencing a serious health crisis, click here for more information about health goals and information that will help you get well.

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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