Choose Health in 2014: How to use Task- Oriented Goal Setting for a Healthier Year

Categories: Facts & Figures

​Happy New Year! Take a lap around your office and you will hear your colleagues discussing their 2014 health goals. Take another lap in February and you will probably hear excuses, disappointment, and few success stories.

There is one main reason these resolutions don’t stick: they are outcome-oriented. Outcome-oriented goals do not require a plan to achieve the goal. Setting a goal to lose 5 pounds is outcome-oriented. This type of goal is rarely successful for two reasons: it does not encourage the development of long-term healthy habits, and it is easy to become discouraged if progress isn’t rapid enough. Outcome-oriented goals also fail to address the underlying reasons your health might not be optimal. Extra work at the office, busy home life, fatigue, or other reasons will not magically disappear once you set a goal.

This year, try task-oriented goal setting. Task-oriented goals encourage life-long healthy habits because the focus is on performing specific actions or tasks. For example, if lack of time consistently encourages bad eating, set aside 1 hour every Sunday to prepare healthy snacks for busy days. By focusing once a week on the task of preparing snacks you can avoid eating junk food multiple times. Task-oriented goals become the plan of action, with the ultimate goal to live your healthiest life possible. So take some time and examine areas of your life where you can implement task-oriented goals in 2014. Here are some ideas:​


- Make vegetables half your main meals.

- Drink 80 oz of water a day EVERY DAY

- Eat a high protein breakfast within an hour of waking (at least 10g of protein).


- Invest in an activity tracker (FitBit Zip, Jawbone UP) and get creative in finding ways to take 7,000-10000 steps a day

- If you travel regularly, create a hotel routine you can do in the room, and do it as soon as you arrive, every time.

- Take three 10 minute walks around your office each day.

Task-oriented goals work because life-long habits are created. So commit to a new you in the New Year and make 2014 your healthiest ever.

By Amanda Allen, MS, CSCS​