Healthy Lifestyle

Six Steps to Setting New Health Goals

Six Steps to Setting New Health Goals
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Health challenges can increase motivation and lead to new achievements in weight loss or other health-related goals. Setting good goals is important for staying motivated and making health gains, and that is a big priority when managing prediabetes and lowering risk for type 2 diabetes.

As anyone who has ever fallen short of a goal can attest to, it can take some practice to establish goals and figure out how to achieve them. As the Lark DPP check-in suggested, setting big goals and working towards them in small, planned steps can get you a good deal of progress. Here is some guidance when setting goals.

Steps to Goal-Setting

  1. Consider your priorities. This is the fun part as the early part of this brainstorming exercise can lead to all sorts of possibilities for goals. Is the goal to start a business, spend more time with family, or travel the world? As a Lark DPP user, some high-priority goals may be more closely related to behaviors, such as losing weight and reducing sedentary time, that can lower blood sugar.
  2. Solidify your goal. Next, your dream needs to become achievable and measurable to turn into a goal. specific. An example of a dream might be to become an internationally famous supermodel, while an achievable goal might be to lose 30 lb. “Eating better” is not measurable, but “meeting recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for a healthy diet,” or, “getting 6 green badges a day with Lark,” is. 
  3. Commit to your goal. Writing it down on paper or entering a weight or activity goal into Lark can establish your commitment. Telling others about your goal can increase accountability and support. 
  4. Break it down and plan. Big goals are far away. The way to get to them is in small steps, which allow you to make progress, stay motivated, and know what to do. If the goal is to get 6 badges per day with Lark, specific small steps might be to hit the vegetable goal each day for a week, work on limiting fried foods in another week, and commit to logging all foods at beverages for at least 4 days in another week. If the goal is to lose 30 lb., smaller goals might be swapping water for regular soft drinks, then eating a half-sandwich and a salad instead of a full sandwich, then increasing physical activity by a half-hour each week. 
  5. Set aside time. All goals require at least a bit of time, whether to act on a small step, focus, or prepare. Figure out how much time you need each day or week to hit each goal, and set aside that time. It may be time to cook healthy meals on weekends to reduce the need for restaurant lunches and hit a larger goal of eating healthier, or that time might be needed for extra treadmill time if the goal is to complete a half-marathon next year, or for a longer bedtime routine if the goal is to get more sleep.
  6. Track. Logging progress improves focus and motivation, and lets you see how you are doing. Lark makes it easy to track progress on weight loss, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep goals.

As time passes, goals and progress can be evaluated. If not much progress has been made or priorities have shifted and that goal is no longer so important to you, it may be time to revise the ultimate goal or smaller steps that form the pathway to that goal. It is never too late to get started or change course to hit those health goals!