Creating Health Goals

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”  -Author Unknown 

It’s never too late to improve your health, never. Each moment you wait, each second that’s flies by makes it harder to begin. The first step is not as hard as most say, that hard part is staying committed. Anyone can eat well today, but can they guarantee they will eat good three months from now? It’s easy to get up today early and go for that jog on the treadmill. Try doing the same thing every day for weeks, and it begins to tire on you like anything else. Commitment is the key, and the way to commitment is through goals. What do you want to do, why do you want to do it, and how will you do it?

 

Without a goal you will not know what your commitment applies to. The goal has to be specific, so you can see how every choice affects your goal. Now all of us have the same ultimate goal “improved health.” This “improved health,” will vary greatly for each of us. The woman who runs five miles a day desires improved health and wants to move up to six miles a day. The obese man who can not walk wants the freedom of movement again. Everyone wants better health, you will never hear a serious person state; “I am too healthy.” It’s the only thing you can never be too good at or have to much of.

We need to nail down your personal goals. First we must look at your current health. Try this out: take out a piece of paper and write down every exercise you have done in the last seven days. Now below that write down every meal you have had for the last seven days. Now write down the total number of hours you spent watching TV or using the computer. For every hour of exercise give your self a plus four (+4), for every hour of TV and every hour of computer give your self a minus one (-1). Add them all up; are you above or below zero? If you above zero you have probably improved your health this week, if below you may have hurt yourself. I say “may,” as each person is unique and you, no one else, will decide how you live your life.

I hope you were able to remember your meals you ate. What goes in you is just as important as how you remove it. If your health goal does not include your nutrition, it’s like planning a road trip and not taking into account the gasoline needed.

Now that we have seen how your week went, how do you wish to improve next week? Awareness of the problem is the first step. As our body is always changing and adjusting, we must always change and adjust to keep it healthy.

Before creating your goals you must first do a self evaluation. The +4, -1 test I had you do above is a type of evaluation. There are so many things to consider, firstly your age, the older you are the less likely and slower your body will react to the improved lifestyle. Your current health is second, if you can visualize a scale from -100 to 100 where -100 is the unhealthiest person you can imagine (aside from disease) and 100 is a seven time gold medalist, where do you think you fit. There is no wrong answer. Justify to yourself your reasons for your ranking and be honest. I would say a perfect zero is an average person. Their chest is level with their belly. They can jog a mile or so. This person has no real trouble falling asleep and is generally happy.

 Is this man/woman you? What sticks out more your belly or your chest? Can you jog that mile? Is falling asleep easy? If you lack any of these qualities, you may be below average in health. And when I say average, I mean as to a human, not to a modern American human.

The average American can not jog that mile can not fall asleep easily, and their belly extends past their chest. That is why we aim for Above Average Health. Where do you want to fit on that scale? 15? 36? 87?

Appearance is not the only factor in health, and neither is ability. Listen to Brad:

“When I enlisted into the US Marines I was 6’2” 215lbs and had a 36 inch waist. I could run three miles with little difficulty and worked as a life guard so I had a nice tan and a descent body.”

Sounds like Brad is VERY above average. Let’s read what happened during boot camp:

“…by week eight I weighed 175lbs and dropped down to a 32 inch waist. My tan had faded as I did not spend much time shirtless outside. My body was ‘lean,’ for lack of a better word. I could jog 5 miles with ease and carry a full grown man with full battle gear over a quarter mile. I felt great, energized; I slept instantly every night, and was not sick for months on end. I was not as muscular as I was, nor as attractive, but I was a much more powerful and healthy human.”

Brad demonstrates function above form. Athletes and military personal do not usually have supermodel type bodies. They have bodies adjusted to their environment. So your goal will have to include how far you go for health as Brad is an extreme example.

For most people it is about appearance, very few of us wish to be able to, “carry a full grown man… a quarter mile.” But we do wish to look and fell better.

The only way to improve something is to change it. There are two things you can control, what you eat and your activities. Diet is very difficult to change. We have the foods we like and the foods that are readily available to us. The sad truth is that the cheaper foods are usually the must unhealthy and hardest to find. This is part of your plan, making the commitment to buy that better food, and taking the time to prepare it your self. When you cook your own you know every thing to goes into it, and can control your intake.

A nice side affect that does happen after a few weeks of eating better, is the costs actually begin to decrease. Bringing food to your work and not going to the local sandwich shop is a huge step for better diet. It’s also far cheaper. Take this into account. Lets say you work an eight hour day, and you spend $8 on lunch. If you spread that $8 out during the day, you just gave yourself a one dollar an hour pay cut. That is $2080 a year you’re costing yourself, how big was your last pay raise?

As for activities, it all comes down to time management. Living healthy takes time that could be spent on other things like, eating, watching TV, playing computer games, or sleeping. You will have to sacrifice some of the above. Which one you pick is up to you, I hope you choose to sacrifice TV. Here is why. Think back to your last birthday, what episode of your favorite TV show was on? What was the story? Does it matter now? Again it’s your choice.

For finding time, I think this sums it up best:

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time.  You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”  –Life’s Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It can not be put any plainer or simpler, you decide how to spend your time, and no one else does.

You see the level of commitment you need. I hope you are ready. We need to find next things you enjoy that can improve your health. Increasing these activities will lead to other ones you can adopt and create verity.

Many people, me included, opt for a treadmill in front of a TV. This is a great way to wean yourself from TV and fit your workout into something you already do. Do not want to pay for a treadmill, try sit-ups, push-up, pull-ups, and all the ups. You could challenge yourself. Try to do 50 sit ups during the three minute commercial break. Any variation on these kind of activates could/should be part of your plan.

Make of list of all physical activities you enjoy, and find ways to commit to them. Joining a sports league is a great way, when you enjoy your work out it is much more beneficial. Find a work-out buddy. It can be your spouse, child, co-worker, whomever. As long as it is a person you can cont on to motivate you. Your team or partner can also partake in your improved diet; invite them over for your new vegetarian lasagna recipe. Take your support group into account when building your goals.

The last thing you should consider is why you are doing this. That is the easiest of all answers, for your health. What is your health reason?

“…play catch with my new born grandson.” –Neal 58

“…become a lifeguard.” –Sara 17

“…lose 37 pounds.” –Katie 41

“…be a starter this year.” –Dante 15

“…survive one more year.” –Dwayne 76

What is yours?

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