Setting health goals is a commendable endeavor, but it’s not uncommon to encounter setbacks along the way. Whether you’ve veered off course from your New Year’s resolutions or simply hit a roadblock in your journey to better health, getting back on track is entirely achievable. Here are five evidence-based strategies to help you reclaim your health goals and stay committed for the long haul.

  1. Set Specific, Achievable Goals

Research suggests that setting clear and attainable goals significantly increases the likelihood of success. According to a study published in PubMed, individuals who set specific goals were more likely to achieve them compared to those with vague aspirations. Therefore, instead of a broad goal like “lose weight” or “get fit,” aim for specific, measurable objectives such as “exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week” or “eat five servings of vegetables per day.” 

  1. Practice Self-Compassion

Beating yourself up over past failures can hinder your progress towards health goals. Embracing self-compassion is key to overcoming setbacks and staying motivated. Research conducted by Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading expert in self-compassion, suggests that individuals who practice self-compassion are more resilient in the face of failure and are better equipped to maintain healthy habits over time. According to research conducted by the NIH self-compassion involves the desire for the self’s health and well-being, and is associated with greater personal initiative to make needed changes in one’s life. Because self-compassionate individuals do not berate themselves when they fail, they are more able to admit mistakes, modify unproductive behaviors and take on new challenges. So, instead of harsh self-criticism, offer yourself kindness and understanding when you slip up, and refocus on your goals with a positive mindset.

  1. Implement Behavior Change Techniques

Behavior change techniques, such as self-monitoring, goal-setting, and social support, have been shown to facilitate adherence to health goals. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that interventions incorporating multiple behavior change techniques were more effective in promoting healthy behaviors than those using single techniques alone. Consider using a habit-tracking app to monitor your progress, enlist the support of friends or family members, or join a community or online group to stay accountable and motivated. Working with a Health Coach at STAT Wellness is another way to stay engaged with your goals, create positive behavior change and be able to talk through any barriers that may come in the way of you meeting your goals.

  1. Focus on Small Wins

Celebrating small victories along the way can boost your confidence and momentum towards achieving larger health goals. Research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that acknowledging progress, no matter how small, can enhance motivation and perseverance. Whether it’s reaching a new personal best at the gym, resisting a tempting indulgence, or consistently meeting your daily step count, take time to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements to stay motivated and inspired.

  1. Cultivate Resilience

Resilience, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adversity, is a crucial factor in achieving long-term health goals. Studies have shown that individuals with higher levels of resilience are more likely to maintain healthy behaviors in the face of challenges. To enhance your resilience, focus on developing coping strategies, building a strong support network, and cultivating a positive outlook. Remember that setbacks are a natural part of any journey, and resilience is about how you respond and adapt to them.

In conclusion, reclaiming your health goals requires a combination of practical strategies and a positive mindset. By setting specific goals, practicing self-compassion, implementing behavior change techniques, focusing on small wins, and cultivating resilience, you can overcome setbacks and stay on track towards achieving your desired health outcomes. Remember, it’s not about perfection but progress, and every step forward brings you closer to your ultimate goal of a healthier, happier you. Need more help choosing your goals or following through? Book a visit with one of our amazing providers HERE!