Change and Goal-Setting

Butterfly of Change

What’s going on, my health conscious people. Happy New Year!  🥳✨
As we embrace the year 2022, many of us are considering resolutions that include physical, mental, and financial milestones that we wish to attain within these next 12 months. As we delve into the importance of goal setting, we aspire to encourage goals that are not only sustainable, but hopefully become part of our lifestyle.

What are your goals this year? Now that the new year has arrived, change and goal setting often tend to take precedence in our lives. The question then becomes, how ready are you to make the changes necessary to achieve your goals in 2022 and beyond? Contrary to popular belief, the path of change is not as linear as we may think. Granted, we have all heard of those success stories where people who have decided to quit smoking “cold turkey,” or decided that today is the day that they will begin exercising to lose weight, and have stayed true to their word to this day. Some may say that their pathway to change was very straightforward and a matter of sheer discipline and willpower. However, understand that the pathway to change is more circular than linear. In other words, any given individual’s internal path toward change will have more twists and turns than are externally evident from the outside looking in.

Which Stage of Change are you Currently In?

There are six stages of change that we as Health/Wellness Coaches take into account when assessing our potential clients and their willingness to take strides towards their goals. Take, for example, exercising to lose weight. We all may know some people who are overweight and have little to no intention or desire whatsoever to lose weight; we would consider this person to be in the precontemplation stage of change. Similarly, you may know people who were once overweight but now regularly exercise and haven’t succumbed to the temptation of eating the bad foods that contributed to their weight gain in the first place, even once in years (maintenance and termination stages). In between these extremes are people who are thinking about losing weight (contemplation and preparation stages), and those who are actively going to the gym, taking some sort of movement classes such as yoga, cycling, or spin classes, meanwhile practicing behavioral techniques to reduce their cravings (action stage). You can use this “template” as a guide to figure out your stage of change, as it pertains to similar things, such as smoking, physical activity, breaking certain bad habits, etc. Which stage of change would you consider yourself to be in?

Start Small.

As a best practice, I typically encourage my clients to know what their target goal is and be able to clearly see it, in order to make successful behavior changes; you have to have a clearly visible goal which will likely help you to meet or exceed your objectives. Moreover, consider starting small and building your way up. For example if your goal is to run a marathon next year, you may start off by walking a mile a day, and then gradually increase your speed and distance up until the big event. After all, successful small changes lead to improved self confidence and self-efficacy, which then motivates individuals to continue making lifestyle alterations.

SuPeRSMART Goal-Setting

In addition to starting small while setting your goals this year, try using the SuPeRSMART Goal Structure to assist you. The following is a brief description of the elements within this model, as described by Gavin, J. (2018):

Self-ControllableBoth short-and long-term goals need to be under the person’s control. We cannot aim for something that is out of our control.

PublicEven before you announce your goals to others, you need to make them public to yourself. That is, you need to vocalize to yourself that you are engaged in a specific process of goal pursuit.

Rewards: Rewards for reaching short-and long-term goals can be effective forms of extrinsic motivation, especially when they are linked to the client’s goals (e.g., buying a few scented candles after meditating regularly for three weeks, going on a weekend retreat at a meditation center when the practice has been fully adopted and maintained for six months). Remember that the reward must promote goal attainment rather than detract from it (p. 208).

Specific: Bearing in mind whether the goal type is outcome, performance, process, or some other form of goal, specific details will vary.

Measurable: This element of goals requires that clients be able to articulate their progression in a quantifiable fashion (p. 210).

Adjustable: Goals need to be flexible so that when something arises that alters your plans, you still have a plan B to still complete the goal.

RealisticWhile determining your goals, be mindful of all the daily duties and commitments you have, which will in turn determine how realistic the goal is and how committed you will be.

Time Specific: Your goals should include a specific timeline or date for your achievement to occur.  


Gavin, J. (2018). Lifestyle Wellness Coaching-3rd Edition (3rd Edition). Human Kinetics Publishers.

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