Setting Goals for Health, Wholeness & Behavior Change

First off, let it be known, that you are an amazing, smart, wonderful human being, and you are perfect the way you are.  BUT, if you know, deep down, that something is not quite right, or that you need or want to make a change to feel healthier, stronger, more alive and energetic, than this blog is for YOU! 

Making a decision to change your habits to improve your health is just the first step to create change. In fact, in the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “A goal without a plan, is just a wish”. It’s essential to create a plan that is SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Timely. 

Here is a brief explanation of each step, along with examples to get your mindset moving towards your health and wholeness goals effectively.  Remember, every little change you make adds up to long term positive effects for your health.


The FIRST step of Goal Setting is:  SPECIFIC.


Be as explicit as possible, and target the details. The 'who', the 'what' the 'where' the 'when' the 'which' and the 'why' of your goal.

Here's an example of a vague goal:  I will walk around the block every day.

Here's a clearer and more specific goal:  I will walk around my block 2 times, 5 days a week, after supper, at a pace that makes me a little breathless, to help me digest my supper better.


The SECOND step of Goal Setting is: MEASURABLE.

How will you track your progress? How will you know if you are closer, or further from your goal?   Be as specific as possible.  This is the HOW of your goal.

A vague example of 'How':  I will walk every night after supper.

A specific MEASURABLE (how) goal to decrease blood pressure:  I will walk around the block after supper 5 days of the week.  I will know that my blood pressure is reducing, because I will take it before I begin my walking plan for a baseline.  Then I will take my blood pressure twice a week (on Tues and Thurs) and track it in a book where I can see the BP's trending.  I will know it is improving when I see the numbers going downward. If I need help understanding my blood pressure readings, I will reach out to my Nurse Coach or my healthcare provider.


The THIRD step of Goal Setting is: ACTION-ORIENTED

Outline small, achievable steps that are specifically detailed to help you achieve the big goal.  Then, as you achieve the smaller goals, you can advance those goals (or make new smaller goals) to be more challenging as you go.

An example of a goal without Action Steps:  I will lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks.

Action Oriented Goal:  To lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks (2/15) I will:

Week 1:

1.  Move my body, by walking around the block 5 nights a week, for 20 minutes, I will try to become a little breathless

2.  Prepare home-made lunches and bring them to work instead of eating out on M, W, F each week

3.  Instead of drinking a Big Gulp of Coke every day of the week, I will only drink a Big Gulp on Mondays and Fridays.

Week 2:

1.  Increase my walking to 25 minutes, around my block, 5 nights a week.


2.  Bring home-made lunches on M, T, W, F

3.  Only have one Big Gulp on Monday

Week 3- Week 8:  etc.


The FOURTH Step of Goal Setting Step is: REALISTIC

It's easy to craft a goal... but is it actually doable?  You must be willing AND have the ability to do it!

UNREALISTIC:  I will lose 20 pounds in a month. 

Why?  Because sustainable, realistic weight loss is about 2 pounds a week- which is about 12 pounds in a month - IF you are lucky.

UNREALISTIC:  I will reduce my stress level, but not adapt anything in my life.

Why?  Because doing the same-old, same-old is not working.

UNREALISTIC:  I will do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout 7 days a week. 

Why?  Because, this is too much work for your body.  You need time for recovery, and doing this high stress workout every day will leave you feeling energy depleted and exhausted- and you will likely give it up.

REALISTIC (if you have trouble sleeping):  I will begin my bedtime ritual 20 minutes earlier, so I land in bed 20 minutes earlier to get more rest.

REALISTIC (if you've never exercised):  I will get up from the couch on 2 commercial breaks while watching TV and walk around my living room on Mondays and Wednesdays.

REALISTIC (if you wish to reduce blue light/toxin exposure & sleep better):  Instead of using my cell phone to read before bed, I will read from a book to reduce my exposure to blue light- this will help me sleep better. 


The FIFTH Step in Goal Setting is TIMELY:

Set a deadline or timeline for WHEN you will achieve our goal- it'll keep you motivated. Mark it as an appointment on your calendar, because it is important!

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An example of a goal without Time: I will run a mile.

A Timely goal example:  I will jog a mile by January 16th.  

So, over the next month, I will:

Week 1: Walk around my block 4 times after supper 5 times/week -this takes me 15 minutes

Week 2: I will jog/walk around my block 5 times after supper 5 times/week

Week 3: I will jog around my block 3 times, and walk/jog the 2 other blocks 5 times/ week

Week 4: I will jog around my block 4 times and walk/jog 3 times the other blocks

January 16th- I will attempt to jog around my block 4 times to achieve my goal

What Goals Will You Achieve?

By developing a SMART Action Plan, your goal will be achievable, not just a wish.  If you need help crafting your health and wholeness goals, click "Let's Talk" and we'll be glad to get you on your way towards living life with vitality, purpose and vigor! 


Nicole Vienneau (said like piano with a 'V') RN, MSN, NC-BC is a registered nurse, board certified nurse coach, personal trainer & group fitness instructor who specializes in helping you use your power & wisdom to enhance your health& prevent disease. When she's not coaching clients, she loves playing in the mountains, sitting with her cats or traveling with her awesome husband.