You’ve got goals, girl!
Some goals you’ve had for a long frickin’ time and just can’t seem to make them a reality. We’ve all been there.
The good news is, it means we’re human. It means we’re normal. And, the fact that you are here, reading this, continuing to look for solutions and answers and tools… actually makes you one of the goal-getters most likely to find your breakthrough and get to where you need to go!
You’ve totally got this.
There are a number of reasons why each of us have certain habits or behaviors that seem to evade us. Think of those health habits, that no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to get a handle on or keep up with them over time. Maybe it’s been on again, off again, and sometimes you even give up. Again, that’s normal. It’s ok. Take a breather.
The three main obstacles to accomplishing our goals
In my experience with clients and group coaching, there are three main obstacles that keep us from achieving goals, specifically when it comes to changing our food, fitness and mindset behaviors.
If you don’t have a health accountability buddy yet, make that your first goal to complete within 10 min after reading this! We are 90% more likely to achieve a goal when we have external accountability, than if we just casually think about the goal, and try to do it on our own.
2. Inner focus
This is actually one of the pillars of my H.A.P.I.E. Goal Method™ (I’ll explain more below). The “I” stands for Internally Focussed Goals. Meaning, your ideal habit or outcome must be for you and not for external validation like society, your friends, the bully who you want to prove something to, your partner or significant other.
The best way to confirm with yourself if you are creating goals with an internal focus, is to ask yourself the following questions:
Is my goal only about appearance?
Lose 10 lbs
Fit into a size 4
Get a 6-pack
Weigh X pounds
If this sounds like you, don’t freak out… it’s ok if you do happen to have a physical goal like the ones mentioned.
When that is our only goal, though, nearly 10 times out of 10, it’s going to lead to body hate, negative self-talk, and a continual feeling of dissatisfaction in your appearance… even if you hit your goal! So, just be sure to also include your truth, the other results you want from being your healthiest self, etc. Your answers to the next questions will also help.
What are the feelings I want to be overflowing with? Confidence? Freedom? Strength? Empowerment? Peace? Ease? Energy? Write down your top three feelings you want to experience when it comes to your food and body life.
How will reaching this goal create a better version of me? How will I be able to better serve others if I reach this goal?
3. An effective system
Now that we have accountability, and we’ve grounded ourselves in an empowering, inner-focused reason for why we are setting the goal we’re setting… it’s time to lock down the system! If we have accountability, we are connected to our “why” but we don’t have an action plan, it will still result in failure.
I’m all about balance and baby steps and not becoming obsessed with perfection because… hey, #beenthere. This is one big reason why I created H.A.P.I.E. Goals.™ These are my five guidelines which allow for progress vs. perfection, and sustainable change vs. a quick fix that ends in a crash.
Let’s take a brief look at the five steps, then I’ll walk you through exactly what to do for The H.A.P.I.E. Goal Method tracking system.
The first exercise, which you can do now, is to think about that ideal health routine, the feelings and qualities you want to exude, how you want your body to feel, the mindset and body image you want to experience… Write it all down. Who is the version of you a year from now?
Take 15-20 minutes to write down your “new you” health routine in the form of your ideal week! Include all the habits, behaviors, practices, workouts, meal prepping, etc. You can also include other things you feel contribute to your overall health and mindset, like massages, meditation, coffee with a friend, therapy, enjoying a dessert without feeling guilty, etc.
What does the most confident, healthiest, empowered, at ease, balanced, and self-loving version of you do on a weekly basis when it comes to food, fitness and mindset routines?
Next, use the five guidelines below to help you create a starting off point that begins to build the bridge from where you are now to that ideal you just wrote down.
So often we try to go from 0-100 and hit burnout real fast! This method is about taking inspired, consistent action to create a lifestyle that will last.
Enter… the H.A.P.I.E. Goal Method™
Create a weekly goal, that you will dedicate yourself to for at least one month. The goal should be a first step toward the ultimate goal. This is your opportunity to go from a vague overarching result like “get a six pack” or “lose 10 lbs” to a habit-based action like “jog twice a week and work on abs for 30 minutes a week.”
Acknowledgment & celebration
It’s scientifically proven that positive reinforcement, celebrating our progress and acknowledging our wins releases endorphins like adrenaline and dopamine, increasing our motivation to keep going! This can be as small as giving ourselves a sticker for the things we accomplished that week, to bigger rewards like a trip or spa day.
For example, if you’re ideal version of you, a year from now, works out five times a week and meal preps lunch and dinner for five days a week… and right now you are doing both of those only one time a week, don’t jump straight to five! Start with two, so just one more time a week than you do now. The progression of your goals should feel just outside of your comfort zone, meaning it’s more than what’s currently happening, but also it should feel so doable that you are almost tempted to do more.
This was explained above. In a nutshell, it’s about having a conversation with yourself about how your goals expand past physical appearance, past the need for external validation, and include your bigger reason for wanting to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Even though we are taking a baby-step, compassionate and balanced approach, measurement matters! Most of us fall into one of two categories if we are not tracking and measuring new habits we want to implement. We either overestimate or underestimate ourselves… and the funny part is, whichever one we are, we are probably wrong! The person who tends to give herself more credit, like “oh, yeah… I easily worked out like 4 times this week!” is likely to only have done like 2 workouts in reality.
Just as those of us who go into defeat and say “ugh, I haven’t worked out at all this week” ignore the three workouts we got in! The point? Write. It. Down. Track it! This is not meant to be a forever tracking thing. It’s meant to help you consciously take on the habit, so it becomes an unconscious routine like clockwork.
Here is the experimental process: Use the tracking system below, or in the Goal Guide, to set goals to experiment with for at least one month. At the end of the month, you will do one of 3 things… Repeat, renegotiate or release!
if you didn’t accomplish your weekly goal for at least 3 out of the 4 weeks, repeat the exact same goal! This is not a punishment, it’s a re-commitment to something you know you can do!
This one can go up or down. If you didn’t accomplish your weekly goal for at least 3 out of the 4 weeks, AND you honestly feel like you tried to take on too much, renegotiate the habit to a lower number each week for the next month. If you smashed your goal, and you’re ready for more, renegotiate UP and add on one level to the goal. Maybe it’s one additional night of cooking at home. Maybe it’s one more workout, or adding on 15min to each existing workout. Elevate it to the next level for the coming month.
You don’t need this goal anymore. This might be because you actually found out it was happening already, and you don’t need to put such intentional focus on it. This also might be that it’s just not a relevant goal for you right now, it’s not what you need to be or can be putting energy into. You can release it for now.
Another benefit of the “experimentation” mentality, is that we don’t lock ourselves into the pressure of a “forever from this point forward” change, which can mess with us mentally and actually cause us to self-sabotage, crave the things we said we “wouldn’t eat”, and leave us feeling like failures if we can’t stick to it. Within a month’s time, it gives us the opportunity to say “hey, I’m going to check in on this and see how it’s working for me in 4 weeks”.
Now it’s time to set up our monthly goals in the form of declaring weekly habits for our food, fitness, and mindset!
The tracking system
If you don’t have the Goal Guide and Habit Tracker, use a physical calendar or draw one out on one page where you have a box for each day.
Based on your ideal week, and reflecting on where you are now in regards to that, think of the smallest possible step toward your ideal, and begin with a weekly habit-based goal for one month.
Complete step two for your food goal, your fitness goal and your mindset goal.
If you can’t think of a mindset goal, I love these great go-to practices for positive self-image and happiness:
Use those qualities and feelings you wrote down. Begin the sentence always with “I am…” because even when our inner critic is saying “you don’t feel this way yet, you don’t believe this”… just by committing to saying the affirmations out loud, you’re working on shifting the connections in your brain to more positive thoughts!
I have the Gratitude app. You can set an alert on your phone for the same time every day, go in the app, and list however many things you can think of. You can also add pictures!
Daily journaling reflection
I do this 3-step prompt that allows you to finish each day with positivity. Write down one thing to let-go, one proud moment, and one gratitude. Let go of one thing that did or didn’t go as planned, acknowledge yourself for something that did, and remind yourself of something you’re grateful for in that moment. (This is also included in the goal guide.)
Keep your tracking sheet somewhere you will see it and be sure to check in with it each day, maybe first thing in the morning (to mark off what you did the day before) or last thing at night to check off what habits you accomplished that day.
I recommend getting some fun colored pens or markers, and some stickers to make it extra fun and motivating!
Alright, it’s time to get goaling! I hope this was helpful, and I’d love to support you any time with your food, fitness and mindset lifestyle! See my bio for how to connect.