Note: This is an amended transcript of an episode of my podcast, The Nourished & Thriving Show, called “Why Your Goals Are Keeping You Stuck” which you can watch in the video above or find on a listening platform of choice here.
One Simple Shift for Setting Your Health Goals
What are your goals for the year? What are you hoping to achieve? What are you wanting to create in your life 📍 and what are you doing to get there?
I’m Katie Lovitt, a registered dietitian on a mission to help you increase your impact and legacy on the world while healing your gut and reducing your IBS symptoms. I’m so grateful to have you here. This topic, my one mindset shift for setting better health goals, is actually something that I presented on last week at a weight loss summit, and I wanted to share my presentation with you guys too.
The Basics of Goal Setting
We don’t set goals to stay exactly where we are or to go backwards. We create goals because we want to transform. Because we want to change. Because we want to grow. We want some sort of a different result in some area of our life. And so we set a goal to do that. But the way you set your goal really matters. The way you set the goal can make or break your results. And this is something that I spend a lot of time working with my clients on, because if you don’t get this right, nothing else is going to fall into place. It’s important to note that our goals can evolve. You need a really, really strong foundation starting out, but it’s okay if you objectively review it and look down the road and decide it needs adjusting.
But overall, it needs to be a goal that is achievable. That’s going to push you towards the right kinds of actions that are going to help you get the results from the beginning. Now I love new years, because it’s a really cool time to get a fresh start, spend some time reflecting on all of the things that you’re really grateful for or want less of in your life. It’s a really great time for people to take a close look at all of those things. Of course, we can reflect all the time and regularly. (And in fact, the people who tend to grow the most and live extraordinary lives, tend to reevaluate these things regularly.) But what I’m going to teach you today is going to help you set the groundwork to doing that, right? You don’t go from where you are right now, which is maybe setting a new year’s resolution or a setting a health goal, to living a really intentional life framed around your goals you’re thinking about all the time. But that’s maybe the direction that you want to move into if you want to really transform a lot of things in your life.
Let’s talk about what some new year’s resolutions look like and what some of those goals look like. It might be, “I want to get healthier”, “I want to travel more”, “I want to be successful in my job”, “I want to exercise more”, “I want to have improved finances” or maybe “I want to be in a relationship or improve my marriage” if you’re married. Those are all goals that I hear regularly. Yet 80% of people abandon their new year’s resolutions by the end of January. 80%. Here we are. At the time of writing this, it’s the last full week of January, and in all likelihood, you may have already abandoned your new year’s resolution.
Goal Timing and the Power of Choice
If that’s the case, don’t wait until next January to start over. I was talking with a client about this a couple of weeks ago. This client is usually in her head a lot, thinking things like, “If the morning didn’t go as planned, then today’s blown. I’ll just have to start fresh tomorrow.” Or if her week got really out of control and things didn’t go as expected, “Well, there’s that week. I’ll just have to start fresh on Monday.” The fact of the matter is every single day is a gift. You get to choose. Are you going to be happy? Are you going to be sad? Are you going to be angry? Are you going to be resentful? Are you going to feel joy? You get to choose that and whatever you choose to feel is okay, but know that you’re choosing that. And when you’re ready to choose something else, that’s great too. You can choose something else whenever you want. You are the author of your story here, right? You don’t need to wait for some calendar date or certain time of year to set your health goals.
The Three Types of Goals That Fail
So let’s break down the three types of goals that tend to never work out and often lead you to feeling like you need that fresh start. These are the goals that fail. The 80% of people who abandon their new year’s resolutions are probably setting goals like these. So the three types are: should goals, someday goals and surface goals. I like some alliteration. What can I say?
Should goals are things that you think you’re supposed to want to do. Things like, “I should lose weight.” So I’m going to say that I’m going to lose weight for my new year’s resolution or when I’m setting my health goals, but you’re not actually that unhappy with the weight that you’re at. You’re also not really unhealthy or there’s not really something that’s motivating you a lot to move in the direction to take action towards that goal. It’s just something you think you should do.
Someday goals are things that you actually do want, but in a way that you wish or hope will someday happen. They’re not clearly defined. You’re like, “I really hope that someday I’ll be able to have a second home” or “I really wish that I would just be super healthy when I’m an 85 year old” even if you’re not laying the groundwork for that right now. So you want it, but you don’t have really a roadmap or a plan to help get you to that point. Another example might be, “I really hope that I get to travel more next year,” but you’re not planning trips or you’re not actively saving the money and making those budget decisions you need to make to be able to make that happen. But someday you might.
The third kind of goal that I see never working are what I call surface goals. These are goals that you really want to happen, just like the someday goals, and you may even have some plans that may be more detailed. For example, when setting your new health goals, you plan to work out five days a week at 5:00 AM before you get ready for work. That’s great, but if it’s a surface goal, you don’t have any deeper feelings connected with that goal. You haven’t stopped and thought through why you have this goal. Why are you actually super motivated to do this? Or is this goal superficial or on the surface?
So what should an actionable goal be?
Now I will say this: Settings goals for your health is a journey and there are going to be some moments in time where our action is not lining up with the destination or the end in sight, right? But you can have the big reason why, the bigger vision – think of you in this healthy state, what all you’re able to do, who you’re showing up as, how you’re acting, what you’re surrounded by all of that. That will help you set a better health goal. Should goals, someday goals and surface goals don’t get us there because they’re not enough to make us avoid pleasure and seek out pain or the discomfort of growth, which is opposite of human nature.
Three Things You Need for Successful Goal Setting
I want to share a quote from Andrew Carnegie – “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” Now think about your health goal in reference to this quote.
Does your goal command your thoughts? Does it take up your thoughts every minute of every day? It’s all you can think about because you want to achieve the goal so badly. It commands your thoughts.
Does your goal liberate your energy? When you think about this goal, are you energized and compelled to take action towards it because it’s so exciting for you?
Does this goal inspire your hopes? Are you hopeful for your future? Hopeful for what your life looks like as you move toward creating that goal and living that intentional life that you were designed to live?
The why is what motivates you on those days that you don’t want to show up and take the action that needs to be taken.
What are your goals for the year? What are you hoping to achieve? What are you wanting to create in your life and what are you doing to get there? I really want you to consider this as you set your health goals this year. I actually dive deeper on all of this in my Gut Rehab course, because it’s that important! If I can be of any assistance along the way, I would love to play a part in that role. I love seeing my clients showing up and living the extraordinary lives that they were created to live. Let me know what bold action you’re taking or how you’re inspired by sending me a note on Instagram @the_healthygut_dietitian.