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You CAN reach your health goals

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Setting and achieving health goals

Goals come in all shapes and sizes. Yours could be losing a stone, getting fitter, giving up smoking or even feeling happier.

Having a goal is the easy bit, achieving it takes effort.

If you really want something you need a strategy not a wishy-washy plan.

We've spoken to the experts for tips to turn your health goals into reality:

1. Be realistic

There's no point wanting to be a size 10 in a month if you weigh 16 stone. The goal is achievable but not in the time frame.

Think about whether it's the right time in your life. If there are stresses at work or you're having relationship problems it may affect your ability to focus fully on your goal.

Make sure you have the time available for example to go to a weight loss group every week or to exercise three times a week.

Think about whether your goal is actually YOUR goal.

"It sounds simple but many people make the majority of their decisions based on what other people want and need, rather than their own desires," according to Bev James best- selling author of Do it! or Ditch it!

"As a result it can be hard to know what you really think and feel or what you truly want to achieve."

2. Be committed

You need to be determined to reach your health goal.

Ask yourself why do you want to achieve it? How will it affect your life? Why will you feel better for it?

Marisa Peer, the confidence coach on TV show Supersize v Superskinny says: "To reach any goal first you must actually decide to do it and the more reasons you have the more likely you are to stick at it."

Marisa is a leading therapist and has a client list which includes actors, rock stars, musicians, Olympic athletes and even royalty.

She says: "People who achieve their goals do the things they hate FIRST. If they have to go for a run they do it before anything else."

"They will do what they don't want to do rather than give up on their dream."

"The most important part of goal setting is always the 'why'," says Bev.

"Decide what you want, why you want it, how you're going to achieve and then DO IT!"

3. Don't be sidetracked or make excuses

Have your goal in mind at all times. Don't say just one doughnut won't hurt, or I'll just have this one cigarette. If you do that too often your goal slips further out of reach.

It's all too easy to fall back into old patterns of behaviour. You could write a plan or keep a timetable on your fridge.

You are more likely to stick to goals if you are constantly being reminded of them.

Marisa who's the author of Ultimate Confidence: The Secrets to Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day says: "The classic mistake people make is to wait to be motivated, this does not work. Just go to the gym and you will become motivated."

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