Do you sometimes feel like you’ll never achieve your health goals? Maybe you start out with the best intentions, and even make good progress, but just can’t reach the finish line?
This used to be the story of my life. I would create a new health goal, like a 21 day yoga challenge for example. I’d go super well for the first 5-7 days or so, then I would miss a day of my challenge (because life happens right?) and the wheels would just fall off.
Because I’d missed a day, I’d think to myself – It’s not going to count towards my goal now anyway, so why even bother? Sometimes this would even lead to other goals going out the window as well! Because if I can’t stick to one goal, why on earth did I think I could stick to two?
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it could be that you, like me, have fallen victim to the all or nothing mindset.
The all or nothing mindset
The all or nothing mindset is a huge barrier to achieving your health goals. It is extremely common in people that have perfectionist tendencies (guilty!), and people that have a fear or failure (double guilty!).
Essentially, the all or nothing mindset is a belief that you have to do it all perfectly, or just do nothing at all. A common scenario is that you might have one ‘off day’ where you aren’t on track for your goal, so you feel like you’ve failed completely and just give up.
For example, you might decide that you want to cut down on eating refined sugar. You start off really well with 3 solid days with no sugar in sight. But on the 4th day you cave, you eat a cupcake and think you’ve completely failed so why bother even continuing?
I ABSOLUTELY believe that the key to achieving your health goals is overcoming the all or nothing mindset. As someone that struggles with the all or nothing mindset regularly, this is something that I have to actively work at every day.
But luckily, the more you practice flexing your “something is better than nothing” muscle, the easier it is to overcome the “all or nothing” mindset. These are my top tips to helping you to achieve your health goals.
Step 1: tie your goal to a healthy habit
Choosing a healthy habit that you want to nurture is a much more sustainable way of creating a health goal. This is vastly different to focussing on the more common outcome-based health goals, where you focus on your appearance or a scale or weight measurement.
As someone who has struggled with body confidence in the past, I don’t personally find it helpful to measure appearance-based or scale-based goals. For me, it is more important to choose a goal that is going to benefit my health, rather than focussing on what it does to my body. This is a very personal topic to each individual, so I’m not going to get into it here in great detail (but is something that I’ll probably write more about soon).
Personally I find that with scale- or weight-based goals, it is extremely hard to pick a number to focus on. And what’s more, again for me personally, it makes you believe that your health is a number.
Your health is not a number, it is a complex and ever changing beast of many beautiful and unique facets. So trying to put a number on your health is an almost certain way to fail in your health goal.
Instead, by focussing on the healthy habit itself, the outcomes will naturally follow. You will be in a routine that benefits your health, and you will experience all of the wonders that come from that.
Some examples of healthy habits could be:
- Eating whole and non-processed foods
- Having a regular exercise practice
- Having a regular meditation practice.
This is a vastly different mindset from what you may have tried in the past, but just give it a try and you might be surprised by how you find it!
Step 2: have a range within your goal
A great way to set an achievable goal is to have a goal range. This range gives you a buffer, and makes the goal easier to achieve.
For example, your goal might practice yoga for 10 minutes 2-4 days per week for the month. So each week, whether you complete 2, 3 or even 4 sessions of yoga you are achieving your goal :).
Sometimes the all or nothing mindset tempts us to make big and outlandish goals. We might say – I want to get better at yoga, so I’m going to practice every single day for a week. While this is a great goal, if you aren’t already practicing yoga frequently it might not be realistic.
You don’t set yourself up with a goal you’ll fail right from the beginning.
Step 3: measure your progress
The key to motivating yourself to achieve a goal is measuring your progress. If you don’t know how many times you are following your habit, how will you know if you’ve achieved your goal?
One of my favourite ways to do this is to create a checklist or a calendar to help you keep track of the days that you complete your goal. Having a checklist to print off and physically tick off the days you’ve reached your goal is not only very satisfying, but it is a great way to track your progress.
For me, I like to have a little checklist my diary where I tick off my yoga and Pilates practice each week. For you, maybe a big print out in a place where you’ll see it often will work best. Whatever it is, make sure you’re ticking it off.
Step 4: celebrate your wins
Make sure you take the time to celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
If you follow my advice in step 2, you’ll have first set a small goal range to achieve. When you reach that goal, YOU MUST CELEBRATE!
You little BEAUTY! You did it!! Do a happy dance, treat yourself to a face mask, bask in the glow of your amazingness! Whatever it is, celebrate because you did it!
Taking the time to celebrate your wins, no matter how small, is addictive. So if you celebrate really well each time, you’ll be looking forward to the next time you achieve your goal.
Health goals really are important to set, but if you try these steps I think you’ll find them a lot more achievable. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or send me a DM on Instagram @healthasyouare.