By, Chelsea Fechtner, MScN, CN
Building healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits is important for optimizing fertility and overall health. The food we eat, how much or little we move our bodies, how we manage stress, and ultimately how we care for ourselves can make a huge impact! Despite knowing this, it can still be quite challenging to make changes in these areas. Life is busy and there will always be other priorities that can take the attention away from focusing on health and wellness. Creating meaningful and attainable wellness goals is an effective way to refocus on health and make it a top priority. Below are five strategies for getting started!
Determine your Why
We are constantly exposed to messaging that tells us how we should be living to achieve optimal wellness. New fad diets, superfoods, fitness classes and supplements are always making their way on the news headlines. They promise better health and quick results but are not necessarily aligned with what we truly want. Excitement over a new plan or goal will provide short-term motivation, but once that excitement fades, the motivation will as well. Instead, spend time reflecting on what your desired outcome looks like and why it’s important to you. Consider what you want more of in your life, how you want to feel, and what you want your wellness to look like long-term.
Build your Support System
As you start to take the first steps towards creating and working towards your wellness goals, consider who will be a part of your team. Working with a coach is one way to receive support and accountability. Coaches can offer guidance around goal setting, assessing progress, working through challenges, and staying on track. Another great way to build a support system is to invite family, friends, or co-workers to join in on aspects on your goals such as taking walks at lunch, packing a lunch for work, or going to a fitness class together.
Optimize Your Environment
Next, determine what needs to be adjusted in your environment in order to make the changes you desire. For example, if you want to be eating healthy and cooking more at home, it will be essential to stock your kitchen with the ingredients needed to assemble healthy meals. If you want to go running in the morning, it might be helpful to lay out clothes and running shoes and set your alarm for an earlier time. These steps might sound obvious, but they are ultimately the building blocks to achieving your bigger goals. Without them, goals will feel much more daunting and unapproachable.
Create SMART Goals
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to structure goals, however behavior-focused goals will be more actionable than outcome-focused goals. Outcome goals describe what we want to accomplish, such as “I will lose 20 pounds” or “I will regulate my blood pressure”. These types of goals might be helpful for understanding what we want to achieve, however they don’t offer actionable steps for us to take to move forward. On the other hand, behavior goals describe the supportive behaviors that we want to incorporate to achieve the desired outcome. Examples of behavior goals are “I will take an afternoon yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays” and “I will add a green vegetable to my plate at lunch and dinner every day.”
Be specific as possible when writing out your goal. What will you be doing? Where will you be? What time of day?
Is your goal written in a way that allows you to determine progress?
Start small by breaking down bigger goals into smaller steps.
Does this goal feel accessible at this time? If not, what needs to be adjusted in order for it to become more realistic?
When do you want to achieve this goal by?
Once your goals are developed, don’t just set them aside to forget about. Instead, put them in a place where you will see them on a daily basis so that they will remain at the top of your mind. Create a plan to review and reassess goals regularly so that you can make adjustments and set new goals as needed.
Creating and achieving wellness goals shouldn’t require a complete life overhaul. You don’t have to put everything on pause or use every last drop of willpower. Instead, consider using these tools to bring meaning, organization, support, and structure to your goals to help increase your success and progress. If you’re looking for more support with your wellness goals to optimize fertility, you can schedule a wellness coaching visit here!