Updated: Dec 14, 2021
We're just half way through January and I can't imagine it was the start to the year that anyone had planned. With so much uncertainty and national lockdowns in place, making goals and achieving them is harder than ever! I recently listened to the podcast 'How To Set Goals When the World is a Mess' from the Going for Goal series by Women's Health and it is full of gentle and kind guidance to help you stay focused on your goals in 2021. Here are some highlights from the discussion between Roisin Dervash-O'Kane, Senior Editor at Women's Health, Dr Anita Aitsi-Selmi, a medical doctor and public health expert-turned-transformational coach for leaders in medicine, law and business along with Dr Heather McKee, a psychologist and behaviour change specialist.
During these uncertain times we can really benefit from the routine and normalcy of every day habits. Things we almost subconsciously do that help us to feel more in control and a little more like ourselves every day. If you can make your health and fitness goals feel more a part of your daily habits then they'll feel much more achievable!
Dr Anita Aitsi-Selmi recommends you start off with a good declutter! Make space for your health and fitness goals before we try to cram them in! First of all, start off with your to-do list and then take a fine tooth comb to it. Does it all need to be on there? Is it going to help you at this very moment in time? Make a list of things that energise you and things that drain you. Now look at this list and see how you can increase energising things and decrease draining things each week.
When it comes to setting yourself goals, it's really important to have tangible reasons as to why you want to aim for those goals. Dr Heather McKee believes this is a great place to start. Naturally we might have some extrinsic goals that are more linked to performance and aesthetics but it's not these goals that will get us to the finish line. Personal and intrinsic goals are much more 'sticky' she says. Intrinsic is the Latin word for internal and means good for the soul. These are the kind of nurturing things we could all do with a little more of right now. Your intrinsic goals align with your inner values. You want to be your best self in all areas of your life. You want to be alert and productive to give the best version of yourself at work. You want to have enough energy to complete an advanced Barre class and still be able to lift up a glass of wine afterwards! There's enjoyment and purpose in all of these goals and each of them are about the journey and not the end destination which makes them far more achievable. Ask yourself this, what brings you joy when it comes to your health habits? Do you love the refreshing feeling of a walk outdoors? Do you enjoy the buzz and endorphins from a powerful Barre workout? Do you love the feeling of eating a nutritious and balanced meal? Does it feel like a sacred time of the day when you get a chance to read your book? Remember this is about mental health as much as it is about physical health. Find the joy in your health habits and tie them to your goals. Let's pivot our goals towards joy.
The best way for us to start to build habits towards helping us achieve our goals is to limit the barriers to health and fitness as much as we can. If you're not a morning person but it's the only time of the day you have free to squeeze in a workout then make sure you leave your leggings out the night before. Try not to snooze your alarm in the morning and know you can reward yourself with an extra long soak in the bath or a relaxed coffee before work afterwards. The nature of home workouts mean exercise is really convenient but if you find it hard to motivate yourself to do a workout on demand then make sure you book into a live class instead. Having a booking in place will help you feel more accountable to show up and take part!
This is just a fraction of all the great stuff Roisin, Anita and Heather discussed. I've popped the link below if you'd like to listen to the full podcast!
How To Set Goals When The World Is A Mess, Going for Goal, Women's Health.