Set goals that boost your health and happiness

| Steve Bieler

The theme for our first Psoriasis Action Month is “Set goals, take control.” 

It’s great to have a catchy theme, but how do you actually set and achieve goals? 

To answer this question, we turned to our go-to guy for motivation and goal-setting: Dr. Will Meek, a counseling psychologist based in Vancouver, Washington, who has written extensively on this subject. Here are his four tips for a quick start:

1. Pick a limited number of goals.

“Research shows that two to three goals should be your maximum,” Meek said. “People who narrow their goals down are more likely to succeed than people who try to do it all. This is why we so often fail at New Year’s resolutions. Ten resolutions are overwhelming. Two are doable.”

Which goals should you choose? “The ones that are most needed, or the ones you’re most likely to do,” Meek explained. If your main problem is your weight, for example, start by eating differently and getting more exercise. Or if you don’t like exercising alone but you do like working out in a group, stick with a group.

2. Make your goals achievable. 

Meek believes that our main problem in setting goals is that they often are too big or too vague. “‘My goal is to go to the gym twice a day’ is a good example of the first one,” he explained. “How many people can set aside the time to exercise that often? ‘My goal is to eat a better diet’ is an example of the second. What does ‘a better diet’ mean, and how will you get there? Unrealistic goals set us up to fail, not succeed.

"Be honest with yourself,” Meek said. “Are you more likely to hike a hundred miles a day or just try to get outside and move more?” He also suggested being as specific as possible. For example, “I will go to the gym three times a week for 30 minutes each time.” 

3. Keep going, no matter what.

Did you suffer a setback or miss a target? Don’t give up! Sure, today you blew your diet with those donuts, or you didn’t get to the gym because you had to drive your children to their after-school activities and then it was too late in the day. 

“Immediately recommit after a slip-up,” Meek said. “Tell yourself, ‘Yes, I could’ve done better today, but I’ll do better tomorrow.’”

Remember: If your goal for the month is to lose 5 pounds, but you slip up here and there and instead you lose 3 pounds, it’s still a win. “You still achieved something. Your life is better,” Meek pointed out.

4. Your attitude is your biggest ally.

“Research on attitude all points to the value of ‘positive self-talk,’” Meek said. Examples of positive self-talk are “I can do this” and “This is good for me.” 

“Make something like that your mantra,” Meek said. “A goal-focused attitude is important for sustaining effort. You are, in effect, internalizing the support your best friend would give you.”




Driving Discovery, Creating Community

This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. See how far we’ve come with this timeline of NPF’s history. But there’s still plenty to do, and we can’t do it without you! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funding to promote research into better treatments and a cure by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or even create your own DIY event. Contact our Patient Navigation Center for free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today! Together, we will find a cure.

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