By: YOUnique Member, Colleen Ekback, MA
The key to successful goal setting is planning. Establishing fitness and eating goals and habits for your family can provide long term benefits that help prevent illness. Families that set and accomplish goals collectively, receive the support and motivation needed to achieve them. A well-designed family wellness plan can create life-long healthy habits, and better mental and physical health overall. The time spent designing the plan is well worth the effort.
Step 1: Ask each family member to write down their own personal health concerns. Ask everyone to share their concerns with the family and discuss.
Step 2: Brainstorm together to develop a plan that will complement each family member’s personal goals. Encourage input from everyone. Create family goals that are in line with the healthier lifestyle desired. Assign duties and responsibilities for each member that support the family goals. For example, one member might be in charge of making a well balanced meal; another responsible for coming up with an active activity that the family can do after dinner or the weekend, etc. Create a system so everyone knows their contributions and commitments.
Step 3: Plan your meals. Find recipes that have lower fat or lighter versions of your family’s favorite foods or tweak recipes by substituting healthier ingredients &/or limit your portion sizes. Also plan and shop for healthy snacks that the family likes. Lastly, purge all unhealthy food from your home to avoid temptation which sets up a successful environment.
Step 4: Plan an exercise program that is in line with personal and family goals. Schedule time for family workouts that will keep the momentum and motivation alive. Family bike rides and walks can also be an enjoyable way to spend time together. If your family is motivated by competition, keep a daily chart for members to check off the days that they exercised for 30 or more minutes. Come up with personal and family incentives for members to strive toward, and reward and acknowledge achievement.
Step 5: Schedule ongoing meetings to discuss how the program is coming along. Ask each family member what they think is effective and what is not working and make improvements. These meetings are important in maintaining motivation and continued achievement! During the meetings, check in with each member about how they are progressing with their personal goals. If there are setbacks, discuss what the possible obstacles might be, then create a plan to get back on track. Encourage and support each other, acknowledge personal and family progress, and celebrate your success!