Have you managed to learn a new language during lockdown?! It seems many people are measuring their lockdown experience by the new skills they have developed but the reality for many of us is that we haven’t learned a new skill, we have just endured. That is ok.
I have heard numerous people say that they have not done any exercise and not been watching what they are eating during lockdown as if it is a failure. Both exercise and good nutrition are important, don’t get me wrong, but we have to consider the whole picture. Getting through has been the focus.
The temptation as lockdown eases is to go on a diet, and I am sure there will be lots of services marketed this way, but crash dieting or having goals which are so huge they are not only unrealistic so we don’t achieve them but they also make us feel even worse (and so have even more erratic eating patterns).
So in this article I am going to share how I set goals with my clients. You can do this yourself, you don’t necessarily need a health professional to support you but it might be helpful to have a friend who can encourage you.
We look for goals which are SMART
Specific (so you know what you are doing)
Measurable (so you can tell you have completed the goal)
Achievable (so you don’t set yourself up to fail)
Realistic (because you won’t want to do something unrealistic because you will never win)
Timed (so you have a point in time in mind to focus on)
For example not ‘I want to get fit’ but perhaps to go for a 10 minute walk twice a week over the next 3 weeks.
I know that we are supposed to do more than this each week but we start small and then build up. The best health goals are those which take us on a lifelong journey to better health rather than the goals which crash and burn
Another example: not to eat more fruit and veg but perhaps to eat a portion (80g) of fruit with my breakfast 2 days a week.
The next steps for these goals is to do them on more days, then to lengthen the walks or add in more portions of veg across the day.
We need to be kind to ourselves. Simple goals can be celebrated (I recommend rewards which are not food related such as stickers, time with friends, a soak in the bath etc). Simple goals can then be built on.