The Importance of Setting Goals and Building Habits

Habits and goals work together to become a dynamic duo when working towards accomplishing a task. Set a goal, then create habits to help facilitate the desired outcome. Let’s discuss the benefits of setting goals and creating habits. 

  • Goals give us something to work towards. By setting goals, we are acknowledging that we are committing to working towards something meaningful to us. Whether that goal is walking for 30 minutes a day, taking more consistent blood pressure and weight readings, or making healthier food choices, we are committed to achieving success in that area of our lives. Goals can give us a sense of purpose. There are different ways to set goals as well. Here are a few:
    • Setting goals with others can help us create a network of support and accountability as well as foster a sense of belonging
    • Setting smaller goals before the end-goal can help us feel more accomplished and motivated. Larger goals can seem daunting and we may lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Milestones help to increase motivation and passion towards the end goal.
    • Create a vision board or place a visual of your goal(s) somewhere you look daily. By visualizing and being reminded of the goals daily, you are more likely to succeed in accomplishing them.
  • Habits assist in helping us achieve the goals we set. There are a lot of ways to begin building habits. These can include:
    • Habit stacking: This is when someone does two habits at the same time. This uses an old habit to build a new one. An example of this could be something as simple as “After I take my medications, I’ll take my blood pressure,” or “I’ll take my weight and then brush my teeth.”
    • Habit Trackers: Habit trackers are a visual way to see progress on building a new habit. Habit trackers come in a variety of different formats, so it may take some trial and error to find one that works for you. I have found that a color-coded coloring habit tracker is the most effective for me. 
    • 21/90: They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit and 90 days for it to become a part of a lifestyle. Give yourself some time and grace when trying to get something to stick. Mark these on your calendar or habit tracker to help visualize that timeline.

Goals and habits can be particularly helpful for those with chronic illnesses that may need more in-depth and consistent healthcare. By creating healthy habits, like taking weight and blood pressure readings regularly, patients are able to better assist their healthcare teams in identifying trends and intervening more effectively and efficiently. This can help to increase time between required or recommended appointments as well as reduce emergency interventions, like hospitalizations. 

We have created a habit tracker for tracking weight and blood pressure that can be found on our website here. There are also a number of books and resources that delve deeper into the importance of habits and goals.

If you are setting goals that may alter your lifestyle or health significantly, please consult with your physician(s) before continuing to ensure it is safe. As always, stay healthy!

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