Create Wellness Goals for 2018 That Work!

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New Year’s Resolutions rarely ever work. This is because they tend to be big, sweeping, generalized intentions. We get to the end of a year, and we’re forced to look at what we really don’t like about ourselves. The first thing that most of us want to do is lose weight. We’ve eaten way too much over the Holiday season, the diets that we tried during the year have failed to deliver lasting results, and we’re another year older. But charging into the New Year with a resolution such as, “I’m going to stop eating sugar/gluten/dairy etc” is a tough one. I know this only too well because I am a Wellness Coach. I work with hundreds of clients during the year. And New Year is the worst time for everyone I know because panic sets in. Their resolutions become extreme, grandiose, and rigid. And, this mindset stems from a deep down sense of inadequacy and failure, “I’ve never really managed to stick to anything long term and this is why I’m a mess…but this year I’m darn well going to stick to it no matter what!”  However, this kind of self-talk will absolutely set you up to fail. But, with a change of mindset and my easy process, you can create wellness goals for 2018 that work. You will see results. But it is a process. I’ve spent years finessing this easy process for clients and readers because I want to results. And I wan to see them BIG!

When I work with clients or retreat attendees, we spend quite a bit of time in meditation. This is so powerful when creating wellness goals because we give ourselves the space to visualize how we want to look and feel in the upcoming months and years. In a guided meditation, you can actually see yourself a few months from now as a completely changed person. You get to travel into the future and imagine the man or woman who you will become. Unfortunately, a guided meditation is beyond the scope of this article, but I encourage you to find a meditation practice (perhaps one of the many wonderful Apps), which will help you to get quiet enough to be able to take yourself on a wellness-visualization journey. Also, be sure to join my Meditation For Beginners Facebook Group because you will get a lot of help and support over there.

The next thing is to spend a little time writing about what it is that you want to change. I invite my clients to grab a notebook, set a timer for 10 minutes, and get it all out on paper. There is no right and no wrong. No one needs to read this. I just want them to get a sense of what they are really grappling with. When we privately put pen to paper, we tend to get past our inner editor to the kernel of the issue. You might think you want to lose weight, or get “healthier” – but let’s explore why. The “why” question is very important because it forces you to get more specific. For example, “I want to lose weight because I can’t stand the way I feel when I try to pull on the expensive jeans I bought last year. I’m disgusted with myself”, or “I want to lose weight because my doctor told me I need to.” You would then follow up this statement (while you are writing), by asking yourself questions such as, “Why am I disgusted with myself?”, or “Why does my doctor say that I need to lose weight?” We all have very different reasons for wanting to work out, lose weight, eat clean, meditate more etc. And this writing exercise is to help you go deeper. Creating wellness goals is all about clarity. Just as financial experts might have your visualizing the sum of money that you want to earn this year, or the kind of home that you wish to be living in eventually, you wellness goals become powerful with visualization. You could even start a vision board or a Pinterest board on which you pin images of wellness goals (a strong woman running, doing yoga, healthy dishes, a wellness retreat etc).

The next step is to get really specific. Your writing exercise will have helped you with this. Getting specific forces you to really think about how you plan to achieve your goals realistically. As I wellness coach, I often have clients telling me they just want to “get healthier”. This is way too generalized. So, together we do the work of discovering what “healthy” means to them. And, then we get very granular. What is the first thing that needs to be addressed?

Next up is making a list of priorities. We can’t to everything all at once. Most of us want to be thinner, stronger, have more energy, deal with specific health issues, learn to de-stress (and that’s just the beginning). So, we need to pick just one thing to tackle first. If it’s a nagging health issue, maybe that’s the priority for January. It might be to get more testing done, to find a doctor who specializes in this condition, or to eliminate a food group that you know aggravates your condition. If your priority is weight-loss, it might be that you decide to focus on exercising for at least one hour a day, every day of the week. Or, you might decide to transition to a mainly plant-based diet. Either way, you need to choose just ONE priority for January. Once you’ve chosen that priority, write it down at the top of a fresh piece of paper. And just because I know that most of my clients are raring to get all of their problems solved, I often have them choose a different priority for each month of the year ahead. This would mean that you would write a new heading on a fresh piece of paper for that month. You will end up with 12 pieces of paper with 12 wellness goals. Trust me on this, if you try to do too much in the first couple of months, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Not on my watch!

 Now it’s time to write out actionable items for that first wellness goal of the year. How exactly are you going to achieve this? Specificity is everything. Also keep in mind that these goals must be doable. Once you have written one of the down, have a good think about it – is is realistic for you to attain? Remember, you have to set yourself up for success. You wouldn’t give an SAT practice test to a ten year-old. Don’t give yourself a to-do that is unrealistic for where you are in your life right now.
When making a list of your actionable items, you need to have your schedule to hand because you are going to have to actually make weekly and daily. These plans might involve calling a doctor, sending an email, carving out exercise time, signing up for a yoga class etc. The more specific you get, the more likely you will be to do it. I highly recommend a bullet-journal for this part of the process. You might be aware of this effective system that helps keep you on track. If not, google it, because it might be enormously helpful. It’s also creative and a lot of fun. I recommend a bullet journal to most of my private clients.

The final and most important step is to change your mindset to “I can” or “I get to”. Since most weight-loss diets and exercise boot camps smack of punishment, I like to completely re-frame this approach. Instead of, “I can’t eat refined sugar or cheese anymore- ugh!!!!”, I re-frame this to, “I get to open my fridge and eat beautiful, fresh and organic foods that make me feel alive!” Instead of, “I have to haul my body to a boot camp and get yelled at for the piece of shit that I am!”, I re-frame this self-talk to, “I am so grateful that I have a body that is strong and well enough to be able to do a class, lift weights, hike etc – how very fortunate I am!”. And the final mindset change is a whooping, “I CAN!!!!!!” Whatever version of that rings true to you – write it down on post-its, on your phone – everywhere. I want you waltzing into 2018 with a heart full of excitement and joy, and a head bursting with, “I can, and I will!”

One more important note here: It’s so much easier to achieve your goals with buddies. WE is more powerful than ME. So, find a friend who might have similar wellness goals to you, and plan to do it together. I love to have a texting buddy  – When we’ve finished our exercise, or our meditation, we text each other the green check mark emoji. I love getting these texts because it makes do mine if I’ve forgotten.

If you wish to dig deeper, and have a personal guide leading you through this process, please email to set up your private coaching session with me.

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Sophie Uliano is New York Times best-selling author and leading expert in the field of natural health and beauty, who takes a down-to-earth approach to beauty focusing on what's truly healthy. Join my masterclass to get started.