Are you a detailed, goal-oriented person? A “planner,” you might say?
Maybe you’re the type that just has a general idea of where you’re going in your life?
Or you could be a completely spontaneous person, going through the motions of each day with no clear idea on where you’re headed.
We all have different ways of approaching our day-to-day lives, but when it comes to long-term change or achievements, it pays to set strong goals and create a sensible roadmap to get you there.
So, where do you start?
Let’s get real. Nobody wants to:
Big changes take work. They require commitment. They test your patience and perseverance.
Big changes are changes you want to STICK!
Are you ready for sustainable change? It helps to start slow and define two things first:
#1: WHAT do you want to achieve?
#2: WHY do you want to achieve it?
Dig deep on this one. Explore the depths of it.
What is it about this change?
Are you thinking of changing because everyone around you is telling you to? (Hint: that’s probably not a sustainable motivator). Keep digging until you can really connect to a powerful change agent that will carry you through any obstacles you encounter.
The what and the why are the most critical steps to getting (and staying) on the right path to your goals. This is why you’ll often see change happen after someone hits rock bottom—whatever that may look like to an individual. Think about addiction, cancer, panic attacks, type 2 diabetes, stroke, a heart attack. In these cases, there’s a defining event or overwhelming feeling of “enough is enough” that prompts a major behavior change.
Those examples are the more dramatic and extreme reasons for change. Yours might be as simple as wanting to increase your mobility to play on the floor with your grandkids! Either way, a strong why will help you get there.
Have you ever thought about what you want for Your life?
✔️ What do you want for your career?
✔️ What do you want for your health?
✔️ What do you want in your relationships?
I was on a walk this past week listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Broken Brain with Druh Pruhoit. He was talking about how people don’t know what they want — not specifically or even in general.
Druh pointed out how you can ask someone “what do you want in your career?” or “what do you want to get out of this relationship?” … and largely the answer is “I don’t know.”
Therein lies the problem. If you can’t clearly define what you want, how can you make it happen? How can you take daily action to get you there, step by step?
As the saying goes, “If you don't know where you’re headed, any road will get you there.”
I love this quote. Honestly, it can feel validating sometimes—the idea that if you’re wandering aimlessly in life with no definitive direction, you can’t be on the wrong path. I get to tell myself “It’s perfectly fine if I don’t know where I’m going, I’ll get somewhere!”
We’ve all felt lost in life before. I certainly have! I changed my mind a hundred times with what I wanted to be when I grew up… and I finally found it in health coaching. It definitely would have been faster to define exactly what I wanted to do when I was 18. Get through school in one straight shot and launch right into this perfectly planned career. That didn't work for me. I wanted, and needed, to explore. (A lot!).
Having a wandering mindset is ok sometimes. It just doesn’t apply well to major, sustainable changes or long-term goals. We need goals and direction. A plan. A timeline. And of course, some flexibility!
This podcast episode really got me thinking.
As a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, I help people through the difficult journey of changing their health. Together, we turn something completely overwhelming into something manageable and enjoyable.
How are we able to achieve success on this journey?
How do I get my clients from a point of stuck, to a better state of well-being, feeling empowered and in control of their health?
It’s not enough to have just a general goal of forward motion. To make intentional, sustainable progress you have to force yourself to listen.
Listen to what?
Yourself. That inner voice.
Deep down, you know what you want. The chaos of everyday life buries it. We are separated from our inner wisdom.
Get rid of the noise and allow yourself to sit with the quiet. Sit with your current life’s situation. Sit with the discrepancy between where you are and where you want to be.
Get out a pen and paper so you’re ready when the magic happens. Let the ideas flow. Write down anything that seems relevant or important.
You might be able to then answer: What is it that you want?
What do you want for your health & wellness? Is it something physical, mental, emotional? Is it financial or career related? Maybe it’s interpersonal, relationships. You may be craving spiritual development or change.
Define your “what” before the “how.”
First, define your WHAT
What does this mean? Let’s look at Jana (made up name) for an example.
Jana knows she is overweight and feels ready to change. She doesn’t currently exercise but wants to go all in. Starting tomorrow she is going to run as far as she can, every day.
I’m sure you see the problem with this. She is over-excited about change and wants to see immediate results... so she goes all in. This is a recipe for disaster!
Jana would be more likely to achieve her goals if she used the SMART framework. “In the next three months I will lose 15 pounds by walking at a moderate pace 5 times a week for 30 minutes.”
Next up, your WHY.
The “why” is the area we, as coaches, spend the most time on with our clients in the first phase of coaching. Your why is the reason you are actually going to make a change, for good.
Isolating your why and directly relating it to the change you want to see will help you establish the deepest, most powerful motivation to get past the challenges and obstacles on the road to the new, healthier version of you.
What are your core values? Values can also be thought of as character strengths, and if you aren’t sure how to put yours into words, head on over to viacharacter.org to find out!
Connecting your reason for change to your values will help you identify your true, deep-seated motivation. This is a motivation that is really hard to break, so you definitely don’t want to skip this step!
This one is a harder example to create because it’s so personal and unique to each individual. Jana, our example client from above, would say something like:
“I really value zest and self-regulation. I’m not feeling much zest in my life because all the extra weight zaps my energy. It’s harder to get around. I want to be able to run around with my kids. As for the self-regulation piece, I feel like I’ve lost this. This is a piece of me that’s missing. I have no control when it comes to food, I just act impulsively… and that doesn’t feel like me.”
This all sounds really hard.
It can be difficult. Often, we are afraid to open ourselves up and look inside. We are afraid of what we might see or feel. It can be an overwhelming process, but it’s a process of change and growth that takes you closer to the best version of you.
Although it's hard, it can be a rewarding and beautiful process where we discover amazing parts of ourselves we didn't know were there.
Our Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches are experts in this change process. If you are ready to start making some changes and need guidance along the way, connect with a coach that fits your needs.
Find your what, your why, then your how… and watch the change happen.