Making health and wellness goals seems easy enough, but actually achieving them can be tough. Why is it so hard to make our resolutions stick and what should we do when we hit a bump in the road? Today we’re talking with two care managers, clinical specialists who help patients take the steps needed to bring major health conditions under control. They’ll share some of the common challenges they see and their best advice for making and reaching your wellness goals.
In this Episode:
- CJ Anderson
- Alina Tudor, RN, Adventist Health Resilience Center
- Ashley Swift, RN, Adventist Health Resilience Center
What is a Care Manager?
Both Ashley and Alina are registered nurses. In their role as care managers they’re part cheerleader, coach and educator. They help make sure the clinical services being provided best fit their patient’s individual needs and also work to make sure the patient understand their conditions and how they can take an active role in managing or improving their health.
Care managers are also advocates for their patients, helping them connect with programs and services that go beyond their physical needs. This includes help with financial assistance, transportation and even alternative housing or lodging options if needed. The Resilience Center team even makes house calls or counsels patients over the phone, if that’s what they need.
Setting the Right Goals
- Make sure your goal includes ‘how.’ A big picture goal is great, but can be overwhelming. If you’re goal is to lose weight, instead of thinking about a number, think about behaviors, choices or activities you can commit to that will promote weight loss.
- Set milestones. Break your large goal into smaller, short-term goals. This makes them easier to achieve and allows you small wins along the way.
- Be realistic. Chances are it took you a long time to get to where you are now. Getting to a different state (even if it’s where you used to be) is going to take a long time as well. Commit to consistency.
- Make sure your goal is measurable. Being able to observe and document progress is key to success.
- Set attainable goals. Much like setting milestones, it’s important to set goals you believe you can accomplish. This might likely means revisiting them along the way and adjusting your expectations.
- Know your motivation. In addition to knowing how you’re going to achieve your goal, make sure you know why you want to achieve it. When the going gets tough or you face a setback this will allow you to refocus and get back on track.
- Find someone you can be accountable too. Talking with someone about your goals. Then empower them to regular ask how you’re doing. They can celebrate with you when things are going well and build you up when things get tough.
- Write it down. Don’t just think about it, or talk about it. Write down your goal and revisit it often.
Common stumbling blocks
- Over time our habits (good and bad) become entrained. The longer we have been doing a habit the more engrained and harder to change it will be. It’s not just about the physical ability to make changes (doing exercise, etc.) it’s also our mental and emotional preferences. We may not feel like making positive choices because we’re not used to it. But by making consistent small changes over time we can change our feelings, emotions and drive as well.
- Pain is a real barrier as you seek to increase your activity. It’s something to acknowledge and take seriously. Know your personal limits and comfort levels. Push them very gently. Make sure the short term goals you set for yourself are consistent with your current abilities and comfort level.
- Thinking of change as all or nothing can lead to setting unrealistic goals and holding ourselves to impossible standards. Exercise is any form of increased activity. It doesn’t have to be an intense program or brutal routine. If you are moving more than you did yesterday you are getting more exercise. Find a way of moving that you enjoy and do it more.
One of the real secrets to success it to think small about big problems. Find small attainable changes you can make and combine them to move yourself closer to that big goal you’ve set.
Success looks different for everyone. It’s important to reassess along the way. There are times where you may discover our original goal is unattainable, or maybe much more easily attainable than we expected. Pursuing wellness goals teaches you about yourself and you can apply that knowledge to make better goals moving forward. Sometimes it’s just a matter of redefining the goal. Weight loss can be measured in a number on the scale, but also in the way your clothes fit, the way you feel or in some other measure like blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol. It’s important not to be so focused on one measure of success that we miss all the others.
Setbacks are inevitable. Don’t panic. Don’t ignore what happened. Acknowledge it, look for the cause and make a plan for moving forward. Lifestyle change is not likely to be easy or perfect. Even if there’s not a measurable result, every day that you commit to our goal and make an effort is a victory over a day when you do nothing.
Surround yourself with people who not only hold you accountable, but encourage you and help you maintain your perspective.
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.