As long as EnergyFirst has existed, we have strived (and will continue to strive) to share reliable, up-to-date, relevant health information. This information helps keep you motivated to make health and disease prevention a priority and goal in life. However, no matter how much knowledge you may obtain, two important traits are essential to turn your health goals into a reality—commitment and confidence.
Commit So You Don’t Quit
Commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a goal or activity. It is often confused with motivation, which is the reason or reasons someone has for acting or behaving in a certain way. Although motivation is important, it is only part of the picture. Motivation may only bring temporary results. Commitment can bring about longer-lasting results.
You may often be motivated by the health information you hear or read about to make a change in your lifestyle. You may want to avoid a certain danger or gain a certain benefit. This, however, is merely information. This motivation does not always take into consideration your own personal weaknesses, tendencies, or barriers.
If you’re only motivated to boost your physical activity, a rainy day may discourage you to skip your morning jog. If you’re committed to boosting your physical activity, you will not let a rainy day, a holiday, or almost anything else stop you from taking your morning jog. It may not be easy, convenient or comfortable. But, because it is a commitment, you will stick to it.
The simple step of making a commitment to oneself often slips between the cracks when it comes to setting health goals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making a commitment is one of two steps that are done before actually setting a well-planned goal, such as achieving healthy weight loss.
The CDC recommends actually signing a written contract. You can include specific objectives in the contract, such as how many hours a week you want to exercise, how many pounds you want to lose, or other changes to your diet. You can also include the reasons why you want to meet those objectives, such as to lower blood pressure, get a leaner body, or boost your immunity.
Why do you need Confidence?
Confidence is the belief that you can succeed at something. Confidence in your ability to meet your health goals is crucial. If, for example, you learn about how increased physical activity can boost your immunity or lower your blood pressure, you may want to start working out more. However, if you do not believe you can actually do it, chances are you will have trouble making it a regular part of your lifestyle.
Self-efficacy, or the strong belief in one’s personal capabilities, is a concept started by psychologist Albert Bandura. Research shows that “exercise self-efficacy” is strongly linked to started and maintaining exercise behaviors.
How can you boost your confidence or self-efficacy? Take a moment to examine your personal strengths, talents, and skills. Find a way to use these all to your advantage. Make sure to include some goals you’ve achieved in the past. Past achievements are a great way to feed your self-efficacy. How did you achieve those goals? You may get hints for your next goal.
The road to self-efficacy may be a bumpy one. There may be weaknesses, uncontrollable factors, or other personal barriers to your health goals. However, examining these will also help you strengthen your self-efficacy. You can make a back-up plan, or a Plan B, if you anticipate certain situations that may interfere with your goal.
On our EnergyFirst website, we’ve included Success Stories that can help you learn from people with similar goals. These real-life examples are meant to give the support and encouragement we all need to stick to our goals and believe in our ability to achieve them.