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As I write this blog, we have just celebrated Memorial Day and the weather feels like it is officially summer. Graduation parties are winding down and summer plans are gearing up.

I love the idea of a new season bringing new inspiration and new opportunities.

What plans do you have for this new season? What is on your “to-do” list?

What helps me plan out goals and new steps is to think of myself a month, two months or at the end of a season, and visualize what I want to have accomplished and experienced.

When the Fourth of July or Labor Day arrives, what is one thing you want to have accomplished or experienced?

Now, the bigger question, and the most important, is how will you get there? What I am referring to is the outcome goal – the one thing you want to have accomplished and the behavior goal – the steps taken to accomplish the goal.

Examples include:

Outcome Goal Action Steps
Read books Read one book a month
Be more active Find a friend and schedule a walk each week
Drink more water Each day fill up one water bottle and bring it with each morning
Clean out the garage Schedule a day in the next month to devote to goal
Enjoy my family Plan and schedule a unique or favorite activity with your family
Clean out clothes closet Schedule a day in the next month to devote to goal and a plan on where to take the clothes

After we have the outcome goal decided and the action steps outlined we want to make each action step specific. We want to make it a SMART goal. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (trackable).

Using the example of reading one book a month, there are specific steps we will take:

  1. Decide on what book we will read. Get suggestions from friends, book reading clubs.
  2. Decide if we will read the book or listen to an audio version of the book.
  3. Obtain the book or audio version (purchase, reserve from library, borrow from a friend).
  4. Decide when we will read or listen; ten minutes each evening, several long afternoons to get accomplished in one month.

Each action step should have a deadline. For example: by the end of this week, Friday, I will decide on which book to read. By Sunday, I will obtain the book and by Monday start reading the book.

Now, the next most important step is to write it down.

When the Fourth of July or Labor Day arrives, what is one thing you want to have accomplished or experienced?

Why is the power of writing down goals so important?

Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, recently studied the art and science of goal setting. She found that those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals.

She gathered two hundred and sixty-seven people together — men and women from all over the world, and from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare professionals, artists, lawyers and bankers.

She divided the participants into groups, according to who wrote down their goals and dreams, and who didn’t.

She discovered that those who wrote down their goals and dreams on a regular basis achieved those desires at a significantly higher level than those who did not.

In fact, she found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

Just as we work with our patients and clients on goal setting, we can also use the same actions and strategies of making goals and writing them down for successful outcomes.

So, when the Fourth of July or Labor Day arrives, what is one thing you want to have accomplished or experienced? Feel free to leave a comment below on what your SMART goal is. I am excited to hear your plans.

If you know of others, perhaps your leadership team or a friend, who would be interested in learning more or receiving this and other blog posts, please feel free to forward to those individuals.

If you are interested in bringing me to your organization for a refresh training or coming to a public training, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a comment or email at beckylang@icloud.com.

Tranform Conversations. Transform Lives.
Dr. Becky Lang

“Dr. Lang’s training provided me with a better understanding of the motivational interviewing process. The skills I learned from her training have helped me feel more engaged and thoughtful when listening and talking with those around me. Dr. Lang is energetic, knowledgeable, passionate and provides a great learning environment.”

Nancy AdrianseBSDH, Oral Health Manager, Iowa Primary Care Association

“The training I received in Becky’s motivational interviewing class was invaluable. It laid a wonderful foundation for me to effectively empower my patients to develop and implement positive changes for their health. Becky created such a nurturing, nonthreatening environment that allowed me to freely learn and practice. This is certainly a class I can recommend to anyone wanting to learn to assist others with behavior changes.”

Robin GeorgeRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“At the YMCA, we have worked with Dr. Becky Lang for over a decade now to help us shift and shape our culture. As an organization committed to strengthening our community, the coaching and training skills that Dr. Lang has provided have helped us immensely. With her education and guidance she has helped us establish a culture that focuses on building meaningful relationships with our members, focusing on their needs, and coaching them towards success in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Lang has trained all levels of our staff from our front line Wellness Coaches to our Executive Directors and Leadership Teams. Her on-going support has allowed the coaching-culture to come alive in our organization.”

Kim Stewart Kim Stewart Director of Operations, YMCA of Greater Des Moines

“The training Becky provided has been one of the most rewarding nursing experience I have had in 30 years. The style of interviewing and teaching patients is rewarding and positive. Her techniques drive the sessions to be more personal and patient-centered. Through Becky’s teaching, I was comfortable to practice and get familiar with the motivational interviewing process. Becky is an exceptional trainer and I recommend her training to all health coaches and educators.”

Sandy LovelessRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“The motivational interviewing techniques Becky teaches allow patients to set goals and work toward changes that are important to them. Patients feel in control of their own health and allow me to be in a more supportive roll. Becky has a positive and uplifting spirit that makes her classes extremely enjoyable.”

Tyra CarltonRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“Rebecca Lang was a respected colleague who diligently served as a teacher and mentor to hundreds of students over her long career at Grand View University. I had the distinct pleasure to work with Becky and regularly witness her vocation to Wellness education. She motivates those around her by a strong and genuine commitment to a lifestyle which promotes health and well-being.”

Katharina TumpekPhD, Professor and former Chair, Dept. of Health Promotions, Grand View University

“It has been a pleasure to work with Becky Lang over the last 25 years. Within a variety of contexts in the wellness arena, I have witnessed Dr. Lang’s mastery as a wellness educator, a health coach, a professor, and, most recently, as a health coaching trainer. I could go on at length about Dr. Lang’s passion, enthusiasm, high energy, wisdom, and deep knowledge in health promotion and behavior change. One of the attributes that impresses me most, though, is her ability to create a relaxed, fun, interactive, and content-rich training environment. Her refreshingly supportive, inviting, and empathic style of training and coaching allows learners to take risks, experiment, try on new skills, and participate authentically in role play exercises without feeling awkward and intimidated. Through Dr. Lang’s coaching and training, people learn–often more than they imagined.”

Jill NorrisRN, MPH, PCMH-CCE, Director, Care Management, University of Iowa Health Alliance