Setting family health goals
Living a healthy lifestyle can be easier if you inculcate healthy habits from the very beginning in your children. It can become even easier if the whole family worked towards this.
A good way to get your family thinking on the same level is setting ‘family health goals’.
So how do we set these goals? Firstly ‘family health goals’ should be part of the overall ‘family goals’. Family goals are the way in which you live and carry out your activities that will lead you to achieve what your family to be in future. Health goals are specifically the desired state of personal and family health.
A good way of setting goals is by using the SMART formula:
- Specific: To tell if a goal is specific, identify the requirements and constraints needed to reach the goal. For example, a general goal might be for your family to “lose weight together,” but a specific goal would be to “walk every evening for 30 minutes after dinner together.”
- Measurable: To make a goal measureable, think in terms of numbers. For example, how many minutes do you need to spend on an activity per day.
- Attainable: Don’t set yourself up for failure by aiming for out-of-sight goals. Choose smaller goals that you can use as stepping stones toward a bigger, long-term achievement. For example, a runner might dream of completing a marathon, but set a short-term goal of running 10 miles a week for two months.
- Relevant: Set goals that are clearly related to what you want to accomplish.
- Time: Writing down a definite timeline for reaching your goal helps provide a framework for getting the job done.
Our Fijian lifestyle is generally a relaxed one, though it may vary among lifestyle groups for example a family living in the city with both parents working will have additional pressures that will affect how the family does things.
It is important that when you set family goals, you factor in all your key lifestyle activities. This way you will be able to set realistic targets.
Bring fun into your planning by involving everyone. Do some brainstorming on alternatives to current choices.
Here’s examples of specific, healthy family goals
• General: Eat more fruit and fewer processed snacks.
• Specific: Serve fresh fruit salad for dinner on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday the next two weeks.
• General: Increase our physical fitness.
• Specific: A family walk along Suva sea wall every Saturday for 45 minutes this month.
Any change in lifestyle takes time to become a part of a normal routine. You have to make this fun, for example home gardening can be a good fun and health activity. Such activities can be a rewarding and bonding experience for the whole family.