Women’s Health: Setting Realistic Goals

by Dr. Marla E. Jirak, Owner, Coach Smart Consulting, LLC

As women, managing our health is more successful when we start by setting realistic goals. This is true when trying to make better eating choices, starting an exercise routine, or managing our overall health.

Daniel Goleman’s research with emotional intelligence states the importance of having or developing what is known as “self-awareness.” This is the ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.

Understanding who we are, helps us achieve our goals. Ask yourself:

  • How motivated am I to accomplish the goal?
  • What strengths do I possess that will help me reach this goal?
  • What are the obstacles that could derail my success?


Ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, and 10 being highly motivated, how motivated am I to reach this goal? Change comes about when you honestly can say your answer is 9 or 10. For example, motivated people stick to an exercise routine, regardless of any difficulties.

Be realistic and know you will not have the same level of motivation each day. Just take any action, no matter what pace you set, so you keep going.


Strengths can be defined as a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic to you and enables optimal functioning, development and performance.

If planning an exercise routine, establish what worked in the past and what time of day you feel most motivated. You will be less likely to reach a goal if you sign up for “exercises classes” if you really don’t like to do group activities at a set time.


When setting a goal, an obstacle can be anything that gets in the way of success. A common obstacle is negative self-talk; believing you can’t reach your goal, you don’t have enough time to exercise, or you will get to it “someday.”

Take any action with small steps like putting together a calendar and setting time each week that is just for your exercise routine.

For women with families, life also has daily interruptions. Know there will be challenging days, and building in flexibility to your schedule will help you stay focused and keep exercise a priority.

Lastly, staying focused and continuing with your plan, regardless of any setbacks, ultimately will lead to success.