A Healthy Perspective: Goals

Before I had my heart attack I made few goals in life, let alone in my health and fitness. Just like a ship with no rudder I floated along with no hope of finding my destination (whether it be life, health, family, etc). Since then I continue to make, revise, and attain goals that I have set for myself. In this article I would like to focus on setting health goals, and why I feel it’s important to have goals in the first part.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is this one by Martin Luther King Jr.:

By replacing the word justice with words such as financial freedom, health and wellness, higher learning, among others, this quote says it all. Reaching certain goals may require significant, long term, individual sacrifice. Simply put, it’s going to be tough. Other times it may be extremely easy to achieve what you are striving for. Maybe by taking that first step, changing that one thing, it was all you needed to get out of your comfort zone and move beyond the who, what and where that is keeping you from attaining your goals.

It is important that you set short term and long term goals. Short term goals can put you on the path to success and help you achieve those far reaching, long term goals. My main health goal is to avoid dying young. Death is inevitable for everyone, I realize that, but my main goal is to do whatever it takes to have a long and healthy life.

To get there, one of my goals has been to eat cleaner. After my heart attack one of the changes my cardiologist wanted me to make was to only eat red meat once a month. I figured why even bother — so for the most part I gave up red meat almost 4 years ago. Recently I gave up animal protein entirely, I didn’t necessarily want to become vegan, but after watching several documentaries and reading numerous articles it seemed to be the right thing to do for my body. I am now almost 4 months along in this decision and to be honest it has been relatively easy. I’m not going to lie; I do miss a little yard bird (chicken) and fresh water salmon occasionally — and I could have them if I wanted to, but for now I will continue to eat vegetables, beans, nuts, grains, and fruits. Hopefully the decision I’ve made will continue to stave off health related issues for years to come.

Another health goal is to exercise at least 5 times a week. I am pretty consistent on this but there are times when I just don’t feel like exercising. I’ve learned over the years that if I put my shoes on and try to at least get in 10 or 15 minutes of exercise it normally turns into 30 minutes or more. I’ve run in several 5Ks over the last several years but I still have a goal of running a 10K and a marathon eventually. My legs are fighting against me but I still hit the road consistently, and I try to push myself to go further every time I go out. It would be easy to give up and say that it’s not going to happen but that goes against my main goal.

Setting and attaining easier goals give us the motivation to move on to harder goals. Whether you want to lose weight, stop smoking, eat better, or exercise more, setting goals will help you achieve what you are after. Just like you don’t want to wait for your ship to float around until you reach the shore, not setting goals can prevent you from reaching your destination. So… grab the oars, set a goal, and start rowing — you will get there quicker and get a good workout in as well.

So what are some of your goals? Tell me in the comments below.

We have a nice selection of material in the catalog that covers how to set and reach them. Here are a few:

Michael Perkins

Multimedia Producer and Visual Artist at the library. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Washburn University. Painter of the Kids Library Mural and Designer of the Learn and Play Bus. When not at work you can find me drawing and getting into trouble. See more of my artwork by visiting http://drawnbymichael.com