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How NOT To Set Goals

We all have goals… Health goals. Financial goals. Personal Goals.

When you ask yourself “what exactly is my goal?” it seems easy to answer. Just name how much weight you want to lose, how much money you want to have or what kind of relationship you want to have with your spouse.

That’s how most people do it… But are they doing it right?

Not really… If it were that easy, we’d all be washing dollar bills over our chiselled abs while sunbathing on a picture-perfect date with our partner.

Proper goal setting requires a plan to get things done. It needs to be centred around ACTION as opposed to results. You can want and dream all you want, but until you DO something about it, it will just remain your want or dream.

Examples of “result-based goals”:

  • I want to lose 30 pounds
  • Deadlifting double my weight would be cool
  • I want more energy during the day to play with my kids

Now there’s nothing wrong with these types of goals. Wanting something is a starting point and it’s always helpful to start with the end in mind so that you know where you want to end up. But wanting is NOT enough.


Because, often times, we can’t control results. They’re affected by environmental factors (super busy at work, exam week, kids get sick) and physical factors (you travel a lot, you’re getting older, your injury or illness is holding you back).

You can’t control your body’s state, but you can control what you do with it.

That’s why “ACTION-based goal” are so crucial. They focus on what you do have control over.

Here’s an example: “I want to lose 30 pounds” (RESULTS), “I’m going to focus on eating slowly this week and note how I feel” (ACTION).

Now it’s not obvious how “slow eating” relates to losing the 30 pounds, but it helps you pay more attention to what you’re eating and over time will make it easier to make better food choices as well as feel more satisfied for longer. Once that becomes an established habit, you can move on to building other successful health habits like drinking more water, going for walks, working out 3 times a week, etc.

This way you also won’t be fixed on the result and attached to “failure”. If you struggle to start a habit, just make it easier for yourself – if you can’t eat slowly for every meal, schedule time during the day to eat one meal slowly having a nice chat with the family or friends.

See how that works? All you have to do is change the frame with which you look at your goals and all of a sudden what you have to do becomes clear and you’ll be on your way to establishing positive, sustainable habits for your success.

Happy goal-setting!

Your Trusted Auckland Chiropractor

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