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Approach Goal Setting: Empowering Health and Well-being with a Goal Setting Template

When faced with health problems or conditions, it's natural for individuals to seek ways to improve their well-being and regain control over their lives. One powerful goal setting template that can greatly assist in this journey is the concept of "approach goal" setting. Unlike traditional goal-setting methods, approach goals focus on the positive actions and behaviors we want to cultivate, rather than fixating solely on outcomes. Let’s explore what approach goal setting is, why it is superior to other goal-setting methods, how to implement it, and provide examples tailored to individuals with limited finances due to income and unexpected or ongoing medical bills.


What is Approach Goal Setting?

Approach goal setting is a mindset and methodology that revolves around identifying and pursuing positive actions and behaviors. Instead of fixating solely on the desired outcome, such as losing weight or paying off debt, approach goals emphasize the steps and activities that lead to improved health and financial well-being. By shifting the focus from the end result to the process itself, you can find more motivation, satisfaction, and ultimately, success.


Why is Approach Goal Setting Superior?


  1. Focus on What You Can Control. Health conditions and financial limitations can often leave us feeling helpless. Approach goal setting allows you to reclaim a sense of control by focusing on the actions and behaviors within your reach, one action at a time. This empowers you to make positive changes, regardless of your circumstances.


  1. Sustainable Motivation. Traditional goals often rely on external motivators, such as rewards or punishments. Approach goals, on the other hand, tap into intrinsic motivation by emphasizing the enjoyment and fulfillment found in the process itself of self-improvement. This sustainable motivation keeps you engaged and committed in the long run.


  1. Flexibility and Adaptability. Health conditions can be unpredictable, and financial circumstances may fluctuate. Approach goals allow for flexibility and adaptability, enabling you to modify your actions and behaviors to meet the demands of your current situation. This ensures that you can continue progressing towards your goals, even when faced with challenges.


Implementing Approach Goal Setting


  1. Identify Your Values. Take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you in terms of your health and well-being. Is it physical fitness, mental resilience, or perhaps cultivating a positive mindset? Understanding your values will help you align your approach goals with what brings you the most fulfillment. Start by focusing on one value and once you’ve achieved that, additional ones.


  1. Set Small, Specific Goals. Break down your approach goals into small, achievable steps. For example, instead of setting a lofty goal like "lose 50 pounds," focus on actions such as "incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity into my daily routine." These smaller goals are more manageable and provide a sense of accomplishment along the way.


  1. Track Your Progress. Keep a journal or use a goal-tracking app to monitor your progress. This allows you to visualize the steps you've taken and provides motivation during challenging times. Celebrate your successes and learn from any setbacks or obstacles you encounter.


  1. Seek Support. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or even online communities that share similar health concerns. Their encouragement, advice, and shared experiences can provide invaluable support on your journey towards improved health and well-being.


Examples of Approach Goals for Individuals with Limited Finances


  1. Nutrition. Instead of focusing on expensive diet plans or specific weight loss goals, adopt an approach goal centered around improving your eating habits. For example, aim to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals, cook at home more often to save money, and explore affordable local farmers' markets or community gardens for fresh produce. Oftentimes, larger grocery stores will have reduced fresh produce typically in the early morning or late at night. We’ve found great deals by shopping at off times!


  1. Physical Activity. Rather than fixating on expensive gym memberships or elaborate workout routines, set approach goals that involve simple and cost-effective activities. Take regular walks in your neighborhood or forest preserve, follow free online workout videos, or participate in community sports programs. Some content creators release daily workout programs that can be customized for beginner to advanced levels. Even if you start with five minutes per day, the key is to be consistent.  


  1. Stress Management. Managing stress is crucial for overall well-being. Approach goals in this area could include practicing mindfulness or meditation techniques, journaling, or engaging in low-cost stress-relief activities like reading, listening to music, or spending time outdoors. Self-care is often overlooked yet one of the most critical activities to incorporate.


Approach goal setting offers a refreshing perspective on achieving health and well-being, especially for individuals facing health problems and limited finances. By shifting the focus from outcomes to positive actions and behaviors, approach goals provide sustainable motivation, flexibility, and a sense of control. Remember these three tips:

  1. Start small.

  2. Track your progress.

  3. Seek support.

  4. Celebrate each step forward.

With approach goal setting, you can embark on a journey of self-improvement that is tailored to your unique circumstances and empowers you to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Need help with resolving a medical or dental bill issue? Contact your area's local patient advocate or reach out to MBCR today!

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