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Blog > Could Not Doing This One Thing Be Sabotaging Your Health Goals?

Could Not Doing This One Thing Be Sabotaging Your Health Goals?

The key to achieving your health goals
Woman tracking goals

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So, you have a few health goals for the new year. Maybe your wellness aspirations include losing weight, developing a healthier diet, getting more active, or improving your sleep. Whatever your specific health goals, there’s one thing you must do to give yourself the best chance of realizing them. You need to set metrics to measure your progress toward achieving those goals.

Many of us will set a goal, work toward it intermittently, and then wonder why we’re not getting results. But when you measure data and set milestones toward hitting your goals, this can make all the difference in how successful you are. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Basics of Measurement

Measuring progress is most effective when you have specific measurements. When you measure net profits, you measure a specific dollar amount to determine whether or not you were successful and how successful you were.

To meet your health goals, you’ll need to follow a similar process by identifying and tracking the metrics you’ll use to measure your progress. Choose a measurable goal and a specific metric that you can track (such as steps walked, hours slept, calories consumed, etc.) and develop strategies to improve your health accordingly.

When choosing metrics, it’s important to consider the two primary measurement categories: quantitative and qualitative. These categories allow you to focus on different aspects of measurement, and both serve a unique purpose in helping you evaluate your progress and success. Quantitative measurement focuses on numerical data and concrete outcomes, allowing you to set goals using specific metrics and evaluate your progress objectively. Qualitative measurement, in contrast, involves non-numerical data to assess the quality or attributes of a goal, capturing the subjective aspects of your outcomes and progress.

While qualitative measurements matter (I feel well-rested, so I must be meeting my sleep goals), quantitative data (My fitness tracker shows I only slept five hours last night, so I need to take further steps to fine-tune my sleep goals) is more accurate and valuable.

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Establishing a Baseline

Once you’ve determined how to measure success while working toward your health and well-being goals, you’ll need to determine your baseline. The baseline is your current status as compared to the metrics you’ll be using. If you want to lose weight, the baseline would be your current weight. If you want to get more sleep, the baseline would be your current average number of hours of sleep per night.

Establishing Measurement Criteria

Next, you must establish your measurement criteria to address how you’ll track health metrics and what milestones you’ll work toward over time. In Arootah’s Goal Principles book (new edition releases soon!), we refer to measurement criteria as the specific standards or benchmarks used to evaluate progress, performance, or the achievement of a goal. They are the yardsticks against which you assess whether you’re moving in the right direction and meeting your objectives. Measurement criteria provides you with clarity and objectivity, making it easier to track and gauge progress effectively.

To identify measurement criteria, break down your goal into specific, measurable components. What are the key indicators that will tell you when you’ve made progress or achieved your goal? The key is to select criteria that align with your goal and provide a clear picture of your advancement.

Setting SMART Health Goals

Throughout this entire process, be sure that you’re setting SMART health goals. You’re likely already familiar with “SMART” goal setting, but as a refresher, the acronym refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals. In other words, smart goals are specific, measurable based on quantitative data, achievable, realistic, relevant to your needs, and time-bound by a deadline.

Want to take your goals a step further? Get “SMARTER”. The “ER” stands for “evaluate” and “re-adjust.” These two additional steps allow you to continuously evaluate your goals to ensure they support you in meeting your desired outcomes and that you aren’t neglecting any areas in which you could improve.

Often, we set goals based on what we feel our needs are at one point or based on what we feel is doable, but then we discover we made a false assumption about what we could or could not accomplish. This discovery doesn’t mean we should abandon the goal altogether, though. We just need to readjust the goal to make it smarter.

Tracking and Analyzing Progress

As you work toward your goals, utilize technology and tools to monitor your health metrics, such as our Arootah Habit Coach app. This tool allows you to create healthy habits and see real progress over time. Adrienne Farrell, Director of Corporate Wellness, recommends using the habit-tracking app to clarify your health and wellness goals and monitor your daily habits, such as exercise, sleep, and nutrition.

Having a tool helps you not only accurately and consistently record your metrics but also review them regularly to determine where you might need to adjust your strategies. Schedule this review time into your week. Then, after your review, adjust your goals and strategies based on the data at hand.

Overcoming Common Measurement Challenges

While the above goal setting and achievement strategy is pretty foolproof, you can still face challenges when measuring your progress. The two most common challenges are incorrect measurements and plateaus or setbacks.

Avoiding the pitfalls of incorrect measurements is relatively easy. Give your data collection the same attention and care you might give a similar task at work. Don’t just guesstimate how many calories you ate; use nutrition information and tools such as food scales to know exactly how many calories you ate. Don’t guess that you slept eight hours because you went to bed at 10 p.m. and woke up at 6 a.m.; invest in a fitness tracker or ring to track exactly how much you slept during that eight-hour timeframe.

As for plateaus, they can be a little trickier to overcome. Start by doing a deep dive into your data to see where you might be encountering a setback. You may also choose to work with a health coach, who may be able to identify hurdles that you might not recognize. Farrell says, “A health coach can help you set realistic and achievable goals, provide accountability, and offer support and guidance throughout your wellness journey.”

Celebrating Milestones and Successes

Throughout the entire process, be sure to take time to celebrate reaching milestones and successes. Celebrating your wins will motivate you to continue working toward your greater, overarching goals. As Farrell says, “Measuring your health goals is like taking a road trip — you need a map to know where you’re going and how far you’ve come. The key to staying on course and getting to your destination is to celebrate every step forward, no matter how small, and if you fall off track, that’s okay; just hop back on. The goal is progress, not perfection.”

The Bottom Line

Working toward a goal isn’t as simple as following a straight line toward victory. It’s a cyclical process of measuring your baseline, adjusting your strategies, and recognizing your progress along the way. If you struggle to meet your health goals, begin measuring your progress more regularly. Schedule time to check in on progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Want to learn more about how to skyrocket your goals? Join us for Arootah’s annual Goals and Habits Workshop on Jan. 4 for more tips and to experience our Goal-Setting app.

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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