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How do you set health goals, and more importantly do you stick to them?

Having the end in mind is a great way of starting.

If you have the luxury of having the time consider yourself blessed and use that time to create the life you want and dream of.

Sometimes injuries, accidents or sudden diagnoses of disease don't allow us that time and we are thrown in the deep end. Here we surely need a helping hand from a professional.

Many goal setting techniques that are used in business work well when you adopt them to enhance health goals.

Why do most people fail on their goal settings?
One of the foundational pillars for success is that any big success is made up of little successes. If you are going to be successful at anything personally or professionally, it will result from doing the little things that, for the most part, are easy to do but also easy to neglect.

Another reason why we need to look at little things individually is that we don't always value their importance. Napoleon Hill said: "A big success is made up from a great number of little circumstances each of which may seem so small and insignificant most people pass them by as not being worthy of notice."

"If you want to achieve more in your life, if you want to grow as a person and achieve your personal best, then you MUST become a person who does the little things that are both easy to do and easy not to do. This will likely be the greatest challenge you will ever take on, but if you will commit to this challenge and use your personal initiative do the things you know you should do with consistency, your life can be transformed." Todd Smith

Let's look at the steps necessary to set our goals

Step 1
1. Set a realistic goal. How do you know what is releasing for your condition? Here are a few guidelines:
A) for every year you have had a problem it will take roughly a month of treatment.
B) it takes 28 days for your skin to regenerate. So once you start treatment you should see a difference within a month of treating the skin.
C) Sprains and Strains. - if you treat the injury within the first 24 hours you reduce your recovery time by nearly 50 percent. Be aware, though, that the area injured has a bearing on how long the body will take to recover.
D) Auto immune conditions - once you know what the triggers are, which a functional medicine practitioner can work out for you, you can treat the condition and or manage it within 6 months. You might not cure the condition but with careful management you will live a healthy life.
E) in my case of a broken elbow with the added element of plates. Upper limb fractures take 12 weeks. When you break more than just one bone, as in my case, my wrist and hand as well as the elbow, then add at least another 6 weeks.
F) A health practitioner can help you set these goals.

Step 2
Ask the question what do you want for your health? Be as specific as you can.
"I want my arm to be like it was before"

Then ask is this possible?
If you answer yes then you can start a program. If you answered it is not then ask yourself how close a percentage to that you are able to achieve. This will be the end in mind. A very important note on this what do YOU believe is possible? This can sometimes override or increase the percentage as your mind is the most important tool in healing. Your mind can often achieve a better outcome than your physician has predicted.

Step 3
Realistic expectations start with ACTION
Questions that help move your goals into an action plan. I will give my broken elbow as an example.

1. Do I have the correct nutrition and supplements in my program? I was looking for the best absorbed and most therapeutic products.
2. What am I going to start eating? Certain foods create inflammation. This would include wheat, sugar and dairy, so they had to be eliminated. The next step would be to make a shopping list.

Other questions to ask whilst making the list:
Can goat's milk be a substitute for cow's milk?
If I get a craving for sugar what will I do?
Possibly have sweet fruit at hand or have honey in herbal tea to satisfy the craving.
3. As swimming improves strength in the upper body and it is not weight bearing, this was implemented to get to my end goal. I adjusted my work schedule to allow for swimming and booked the time off my online calendar. In this way priorities are set.

Step 4 - Measuring
If you are not measuring your progress how do you know what progress you are making?
If our goal is to do a 10km race, then we will start at our current level of fitness. Let's say we can do 3km easily, the next step would be to aim for 4km. Once we get to 4km we know we can achieve the next goal of 5 km. It sounds so basic and yet somehow we don't translate this to our health goals.
If a person has severe menopause and she has 20 flushes during the day and with treatment this is reduced to 10 flushes a day, progress is made. The patient might not see this as progress as 10 flushes is still A LOT but she is already 50% closer to her goal of having no flushes and this progress needs to be acknowledged in order to keep persevering.

The detox questionnaire on my website is a very good tool to see how you are progressing and can be used as a measuring tool for general health.

Detox link:
How to interpret the questionnaire: If your level is above 30 then you will benefit from a detox. You can set up a short consult so we can discuss which detox is the best for you.

Blood tests: this is another tool that is used to measure what is changing.

Nordic Specialised tests: if you don't know what is causing your symptoms then doing specialised tests can guide you in the right direction. This includes food sensitivity tests, heavy metal toxicity, organic acids tests etc. Once you know what is wrong it is easy to focus the treatment because there are specific treatments for specific problems and this will result in a shorter treatment time.

Other forms of measurement of improvement:
Skin conditions: taking before, during and after photos.

Weight: weighing and measuring yourself.

General health: complete my online questionnaire. Covers just about A to Z. (available to patients who have booked consultations.)
In the case of my arm degree to which my arm straightened and bent was my yardstick. I lived for the numbers. If the numbers did not improve then I would ask myself what else I could add or change to improve the numbers.

I love Einstein's words: "If you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result then this is what is called insanity." Which brings me to another point each of us is different, our conditions are different and as such should be treated individually for best results.

Remember, your mind is the most important tool for your healing. What ever you believe is YOUR truth.

Gregg Braden talks about the Spontaneous healing of belief in the following clip: https://youtu.be/o8DeBePK3Wg

Here is a sample of my goals for my arm "I adjusted this as I relooked at my goals and re-evaluated if the timing was still suitable. Sometimes I could go harder" e.g. swim more laps. Other times I had to be gentler on myself, that is, it was acceptable for me to walk over a narrow bridge rather than riding across..

Supplementation: Focused on healing of bones and ligaments and tendons.
Physio: Start with 2 x a week then reduce to 1 x week until I can do a full body push up.
Swimming: started with 17 laps. As I progressed I worked up to 120 laps.
Weight exercising 2 x a week.
When I was ready to get back to cycling, I started on my mountain bike on the roadwhere it is much smoother than on trails. From there I progressed to getting back on my mountain bike and onto the trails.

Prioritizing goals and wellness is key for success. I had to make sure I put the time aside to go swimming. Yip even in winter!
Think for a moment if you had perfect health, or if we waved a magic wand and took away the one symptom that was worrying or a discomfort to you what would you be able to do that you are currently not doing?
Now what are you willing to do?
Some honest questions to ask yourself if you are serious about your health: on a level from 0 to 10 how willing are you to do the following:
1. Make dietary advice changes
2. Take supplements
3. Modify your lifestyle
4. Practice a relaxation technique
5. Engage in regular exercise
6. Complete the Point of Origin questionnaire or have regular blood tests to monitor your progress.

The answers to all those questions will predict our progress. As I explain to patients, the outcome of your results is a partnership between you and me. You are the captain and I am the co-captain steering you in the right direction, checking the dials that your levels are right.

Remember every now and then you are going to go slightly off course or not reach your destination (your goals) as predicted. Be open- minded to allow your self some freedom to relax about this and always come back on track.

Last note:

I found what helped me most during my recovery was subscribing to blogs of inspirational people who underwent a similar ordeal to mine. I followed their stories on social media and was encouraged by how they overcome their accidents or diseases.

Martyn Ashton is one of my favourites. This video will put a smile on your face:


Author - Dr Debbie Smith

Published - 2016-02-16