Are You Making Progress Toward Your Health Goals?

By Janine Neill

“The secret of making progress is to get started” – Mark Twain

Creating goals is an essential part of the journey toward improved health. No matter if your goals are big or small, life-changing or just little tweaks, it’s important to measure your progress – and celebrate your achievements – along the way! Here are some ways to measure your progress to keep you on track.

  • How you perform:

How’s your consistency? Are you still falling victim to an all-or-nothing approach, or are you incorporating daily habits that reinforce the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle whenever you can fit them in? If you can’t find time for a proper workout, are you still finding ways to be active? Are you seeking out substitutions to make healthier meal choices, drinking enough water, and making sure that mindfulness has a place in your day? Keeping your goal in mind and doing things every day to work towards that goal will create consistency, and eventually, these healthy habits will become second nature. You may even find yourself craving those feel-good endorphins!

How’s your physical performance? Are you making strength gains, seeing improvement in your endurance, or noticing some visible muscle? Maybe you’re no longer winded on your walk around the neighborhood or when you’re playing with your kids. These performance markers are a great way to measure progress – but they are not the only way!

  • How your body changes:

How does the scale react? The scale can be a tool to measure progress but does not always tell the entire story. Be conscious of other useful (and sometimes better) indicators like waist circumference, BMI or percentage of body fat that let you know if you’re headed in the right direction.

How do your clothes fit? How you feel in your clothes can be a very motivating sign of progress. Maybe your pants do not feel as tight in the waist, you fit into your favorite dress again, or you notice other physical changes. Congratulations – you are losing inches or improving your body composition, and the payoff is that your clothes fit better.

How are your biometrics? Healthy habits of physical activity, good nutrition, and stress management can make a positive impact the next time you have your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood glucose checked. These improvements can even lead to your doctor reducing your medication dosage or removing a medication altogether. As a bonus, there are plenty of Vitality Points to be earned for completing a biometric screening!

  • How you feel:

How’s your sleep? Are you able to fall asleep easily at night after implementing a wind-down routine before bedtime? Once asleep, are you staying asleep and, more importantly, getting a more restful sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed for the day ahead? Sleep is vital for a healthy lifestyle – this is progress!

How’s your energy? Celebrate this big win if you no longer need an extra cup of coffee (or two) to get through the afternoon! A morning or lunchtime workout can power you through the day and help you avoid the mid-day slump. You’re probably feeling better if you’ve replaced sugary snacks with healthier options so your blood sugar does not spike and then drop, leaving you lethargic.

How’s your relationship with food? Have you stopped looking at choices as good or bad but instead started focusing on how your nutrition can fuel your body, make you stronger and keep your energy levels up? Knowing that giving in to an occasional treat is not the end of the world, as long as you are making healthy choices the majority of the time is key to a healthy lifestyle – and you’re well on your way.

How’s your mental health? Are you better able to get through tough situations? Do you have a positive attitude more often? Incorporating stress management techniques can lead to more mental clarity and a feeling of being less overwhelmed.

Overall, the feeling of confidence is one of the best ways to keep you on track with your wellness goals. You’ll find that you can do the things you once thought impossible, your relationships improve, and you have a sense of happiness and fulfillment. You’ll probably smile more, too! You may even feel prepared for that event or competition you’ve been putting off. You’ll have no problems walking up a flight of stairs or carrying in your grocery bags from the store. You’ll make the time to do the things that you love. Remind yourself on the hard days that progress can be measured in all sorts of ways – and working on our goals is often a lifelong journey. Just keep at it!

What other ways have you measured progress to keep you moving in the right direction?

Need more inspiration for goal setting? Check out these blogs for more healthy habit tips.

Guiding Principles for Setting Effective Goals

Breaking Down Your Big Goals

How to Break Your Goals into Small Steps

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Janine is an Implementation Manager with Vitality. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science/Sport Management from Rutgers University, as well as many certifications within the fitness and nutrition industry. She loves being a spectator/photographer at her daughters’ athletic events, writing on sticky notes, over-consuming nut butters, shiny lip gloss, taking hot yoga classes and competing in triathlons. For relaxation, she enjoys baking, taking naps in hammocks, and listening to podcasts.

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