Community//

5 Step Process for Healthy Goal Setting

Use a simple 5 step process to set yourself up for success with your health goals in the new year. Start here if New Year's resolutions have failed you in the past.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Estee Jansen on Unsplash

It’s a great time to start to talk about health goal-setting for the new year. So I’m here to share the 5 step process I use to set my annual goals. 

Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of traditional New Year’s resolutions. They set most of us up for failure and we have a bad habit of using them to shame ourselves. If this sounds like you, read on to learn what to do instead. I’ll be sharing what I do to start the new year off right and reach my biggest goals.

I recommend setting aside 30 minutes to an hour to think this through and write it down on paper. Continue to review these monthly throughout the year using a shortened version of what we’re doing today. 

5 Step Process for Healthy Goal Setting

1. Reflect on What Went Well This Year

One of the most important and overlooked aspects of goal-setting is to start off by listing off what you did well over the last year. This way you don’t start the process of goal setting off by shaming yourself or thinking that you need to be a whole new person. List out everything thing you accomplished or improved upon this year- and spare no detail! The little things matter here

2. Decide What to Let Go of in the New Year

To set goals and form new habits, you need to decide what isn’t serving you. What do you need to let go of to become a better version of yourself? This one can be a little tricky. Some of us need to let go of scarcity, negativity, and self-judgment in order to move forward. Or maybe you’re holding on to a narrative that isn’t working for you. Give yourself permission to set things aside that just aren’t working anymore. This gives you the space to form healthier habits. Again, it’s important to write this all down! And even refer back to it daily if you need to. 

3. Establish Your Why

Now we can move on to the actual goal setting. But first, you need to remind yourself of WHY you want better health to begin with. Is it to spend time with your family? Be able to travel? Keep up with your daily activities? Once you find your why, write it at the top of your paper. You can have more than one why, and it might change throughout the year. 

4. Write Down Each and Every Goal You’d Like to Reach By the End of the Year

Write down everything you’d like to accomplish for your health this year. And try to make them measurable and objective. For example, getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, eliminating sugar from your diet, or walking 3-5 miles per day. Spare nothing and write your ultimate list. Prioritize what is most important before you move on to the next step. 

5. Determine What Habits You Need to Establish to Reach Your Goals

You can’t reach your goals without establishing healthy habits. Decide what habits will work for your interests and lifestyle that will help you reach your goals. Then break those habits down into smaller parts. For example, to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night a great place to start is to establish a daily bedtime and stick to it. To start a walking habit, keep your walking shoes out where you can see them. Clear yourself a dedicated space in your home for stretching and strengthening. By breaking down the smallest steps you’ve lowered the barrier to get going. 

Start the month of January out by focusing on the smallest possible steps. Giving yourself a win to start will help you build momentum. I’d love to hear about your health goals! 

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Don’t Set New Year’s Resolutions, Do This Instead!

    by Corey Poirier
    Getty Images
    Resolution Revolution//

    Try These Experts’ Tips to Help You Transform Your Fitness Routine — and Stick to It

    by Lindsey Benoit O'Connell
    Community//

    Sticking to Your Resolutions: Goal Setting in the New Year

    by Erin Condren

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.