Many of us want to be a healthier version of ourselves. Some want to lose weight or eat healthier foods, while others simply want to breathe easier and enjoy their favorite activities. But often, we get discouraged after setting a health goal for ourselves. The results never seem to come fast enough! I’m always impatient when I set a goal for myself. I want to feel like I accomplished something right away—not six months from now!
So how can we set goals and not get discouraged? I’ll tell you what works for me: setting tiny goals. Setting small, manageable goals is one of the best ways to stay motivated on your health journey. It’s easy to lose focus when you’re working towards a big goal that takes a long time to reach. But if you celebrate smaller successes along the way, you’ll be more likely to reach your bigger goal.
You may wonder how to get started. First, think about what is important to YOU. What do you like to do? Is there an activity or hobby you’d like to do, but you are too short of breath to do it? Is there a health or fitness goal you would like to work towards?
Once you decide what is important to you and what you’d like your goal to be, think about how to break your goal into smaller chunks. If you want to walk longer distances with less shortness of breath, think about how you might do that. Could you walk a few extra steps around your home today? Could you do five more steps the next day? Could you do even more the day after that? If you follow a slow, steady plan, you may soon be walking further than you ever thought possible! (But be sure to check with your health care provider before starting any new exercise routines or adding more activity to your day.)
The My COPD action plan is one tool that can help you set activity goals. The top section of the My COPD Action Plan includes a list of activities and boxes. You can check off the boxes that best describe your ability to do each activity. Then, in the last blank column, write in an activity you’d like to start doing. Share your action plan with your family and health care team, and work together to make a plan to reach your goal. If you don’t have one already, download a copy of the My COPD Action plan and start setting goals today! You can learn more about goal setting in the COPD Foundation’s CIRCLES workbook. CIRCLES will help you learn more about how to live and feel better with COPD. The CIRCLES materials can be used on your own, with your primary care doctor, or in pulmonary rehabilitation (also called pulmonary rehab).
What are some of your health goals? How would you encourage others to meet the goals they set? Let’s support each other as we reach our health goals together.