5 essential questions to propel you towards your health goals this year

If you’re a resolution or goal setter, I’m sure you’re thinking about what you want to accomplish, do, or experience in 2023. Year after year, I see people setting big health goals and failing by mid-January.

Let me ask you. Are you someone who sets New Year’s goals or resolutions and achieves them? Or are you someone whose plans flop early. Either way, this year, I want you to succeed!

Let’s start with 5 essential questions to propel you towards your health goals this year:

Answer these questions specifically related to your health (but they are just as effective for other areas as well). Hint- it really helps to write the answers down in a journal or on a piece of paper.

  1. What are 5+ things you’re proud of from last year?
  2. What are 1-3 things you wanted to accomplish last year but didn’t? Why?
  3. What worked well for you last year? What didn’t work well for you last year?
  4. What do you want to do more of this year? What do you want to do less of this year? 
  5. It’s the end of the year and you’re telling a friend how proud you are of what you accomplished. What are you telling them?

These questions will help you proactively uncover potential obstacles and help you reach your goals. Once you’ve answered these questions, let’s make your goal stick this year! 

woman looking out from top of mountain reviewing health goals and making new health goals

Here are 3 strategies for making your resolutions or health goals STICK this year:

  1. Pick 1. Resolutions are just goals. Having goals is helpful! It gives you a target to hit or direction to head in. Keep it SIMPLE! You can’t possibly focus on a list of health goals (3, 5, or 7) goals at a time. Try 1. Just 1 or maybe one for each major area of your life like 1 personal goal and 1 for work, or 1 health goal, 1 personal goal, and 1 for work or business. Choosing on 1 goal allows you to focus your energy and efforts. For every additional goal you add (right now), you dilute your efforts and if you quit 1, the temptation is to just throw in the towel on all of them. So, what’s your 1 goal/resolution? If you’re having trouble choosing just 1, what could you focus on for the first quarter? You can always focus on other goals or health goals later in the year once you’re well on your way with the first one.
  2. Make it actionable. The problem with goals is that they are not actions. Habits are actions repeated daily. The BEST way I know (and practice) to achieve goals is to DO the thing everyday, no matter what. In order to do the thing everyday no matter what, it has to be something you can DO even on the days you’re low in energy, super busy, or don’t feel like it. What is 1 action you can take everyday to get to your 1 goal?
  3. Be the person who’s already achieved your 1 goal. In order to fully embrace your goal, you have to BE the person who does the things to achieve it. When you set out to do your action(s) each day, embody who you are wanting to become. You are not a person trying to be ___(insert your goal here), you ARE a person who is ___. Then get on with the action.
woman cutting herbs for dinner to reach health goals

Let me walk you through these 3 strategies with an examples of health goals:

  1. 1 health goal/resolution for this year is to feel lean, fit, and strong. More specifically, lose fat and gain muscle, reduce total weight by 15 lbs by June 1st.
  2. Actions could be: strength train for 30 minutes 3 days per week, walk at least 12,000 steps per day, eat 5+ servings of vegetables per day, eat protein (20-30g) at every meal, cut out sugar and added sweeteners, fast for 14+ hours overnight, eat to 80% full, etc. (All of these WILL help this person reach their goal BUT trying to do them all at once is setting them up to fail. Choose 1 action for now and build on it later.) Let’s do a little combo here and say the action is to eat protein (20-30g) and at least 1 vegetable at every meal. Doable? Absolutely.
  3. When this person is prepping meals, they need to BE the person who is lean, fit, and strong. They make and eat meals with protein and veggies with intention. Maybe they start meal planning each week, buying protein foods in bulk and freezing some in small portions, get their partner and family on board, and at the same time stop buying junk, and drinking sugar-filled lattes because they are someone who IS lean, fit, and strong. (See how this works? BE the person. . . =)
  4. BONUS: This person has struggled in the past to stick to their goals and habits. Expedite your progress by finding an accountability partner or find a coach. If you’re someone who’s goals just haven’t stuck in the past, maybe it’s time to get some extra support to help you stay on track, hold you accountable to your goals, and give you the expert guidance needed to fast-track your progress. In this example, this person hired a nutrition coach to figure out what they needed to eat to support their body and make progress or if their goals were fitness-focused, maybe they joined a gym with a friend who will hold them accountable or hired a personal trainer with scheduled times to meet.

I love this quote and it applies here 100%:

“What is the simplest way to achieve this result?”

Greg McKeown

Now, I want to hear from you. What is your 1 health goal/resolution for this year? Leave a comment below.

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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