This week one of my clients wrote out his health and fitness goals. It is admirable to see the value he has placed on significant other people being involved, either as support or part of his reason for having goals in the first place. I particularly liked his reasons for wanting to change – ‘be fit enough to support and enjoy – wife, children and grandchildren’, and that he ‘still has things [he wants] to do’. His plans for coping with difficult situations are to ‘share problems with [his wife] to gain her support’, and his reward for successfully achieving his targets relating to fitness are ‘happy people around me’ – my interpretation of this last is that if he stays fit and well he can support and enjoy his family then his family will be happy too and that is very important to him.
We might think we need big goals to motivate us to keep exercising, but sometimes having minor objectives based on things like how exercise feels, or being able to enjoy playing football with your grandchildren, getting up the stairs at work without losing the ability to speak, or decreasing levels of pain, are enough to inspire regular activity and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. It does help if your goals are measurable, but that doesn’t necessarily have to involve numbers, as long as it will be clear to you when you’ve achieved it.
Success in achieving goals is closely associated with direct or indirect support from others, so getting them involved early on is key. Share your ideas with them and check they will encourage, motivate and be with you in spirit on your journey, as you can also be on theirs.