So what's all this about a health contract??
If you want to really take back your health and make changes that last, we're here for you. At Faithful Workouts, we believe that making changes takes equal parts motivation, commitment and the grace of God - and a Health Contract can help you with all three!
What is a Health Contract?
It's like any other kind of contract, really. In this particular contract, you're entering into a "binding" agreement to pursue and work toward the health goals you set, to the best of your ability. It's a contract that describes what particular health-related change you want to make, and then it also outlines a brief plan for how you're going to hold yourself accountable. Like most contracts, your Health Contract must include a witnesses signature - this is someone who agrees to hold you accountable to the goals outlined in your contract. We're so much more likely to achieve our goals when we have some accountability, and so don't skip having someone else sign your contract!
The first thing you need to start thinking about is, what is the change you want to make? Or what is your health goal? Is it to limit your sugar to less than 20 grams a day? Is it to run a 5k? Is it to exercise 5 times a week? Whatever your goal is, make sure that you feel it is a goal you could realistically accomplish, given the time frame. If you're never run a mile in your life and your goal is to run a marathon in three months, that's not a very realistic (or healthy) goal. If you have to start small, that's okay! Maybe your first contract states that in three months, you want to run a 5k without stopping. That's a more realistic goal, and then, for your next contract, maybe you decide you want to run a 10k without stopping. Soon, you'll be on your way to a marathon.
So! Whatever your goal might be, make it realistic, and make sure God is involved. He really does want to be involved in every part of our lives, and our health goals are no different. He can also help us sort through our motivations for setting a certain goal, and make sure our hearts are in the right place. If you're goal is to lose 10lbs, that not necessarily a bad goal. Being at a healthy weight is better for our bones and body, but why do you want to lose the 10lbs. Is it because you want to be healthy and have more energy? Or is it because you hate the way you look? Or because you want your ex to feel jealous? Examining your motivation for signing this contract is important, and involving God will help you do just that.
Your contract will ask you to outline your S.M.A.R.T. goal, describe your potential barriers and list potential solutions, and then list some milestones and how you might reward yourself for completing those milestones in accomplishing your bigger goal.
And what's S.M.A.R.T. again?
When thinking about your goal, you need to think about the small, everyday steps that you'll have to accomplish to achieve that goal. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for the kind of goals we want to set.
S - SPECIFIC
M - MEASURABLE
A - ACHIEVABLE
R - RELEVANT
T - TIME-BASED
Let's go back to our running example. Let's say my contract outlines my goal of running a 5k in three months. That goal is specific (a 5k), measurable (I either can run the 5k or I can't), achievable (based on my current fitness level), relevant (based on my desire to be healthier), and time-based (I have three months to achieve this goal.) So that goal I've set is both a S.M.A.R.T. goal and a smart goal, and I have a real chance at succeeding.
In your contract, we also ask that you outline some short-term goals that will ultimately help you achieve your longerSome short term-steps to achieving that goal might be that I will go for a run/walk four times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. Another might be that I will strength train 3 times for 20 minutes each time to keep my bones and muscles strong enough to continue to run. Another might be setting an early bedtime when you know you want to get up early to run the next day. Whatever your short-term goals are, make sure they're S.M.A.R.T. and that they'll relate back to your longer-term goal.
The more people you share this contract with, the greater your chances are for success.
While you have to have at least one other person personally sign your contract with you, there's no reason why you can't involve more people. Share your goal with your small group, with your friends at work, with your family, and, if you're bold enough, on your social media sites. I'm telling you, you're tripling your chances for success by involving other people who can help keep you accountable, and isn't that what we want? To achieve our goal? So don't be ashamed or embarrassed. Don't let failure keep you silent. Share your goal with other people, and who knows! Maybe you'll inspire them to set some of their own.
Last step? Make your contract visible
That doesn't necessarily mean you have to hang it on your front door, but make this contract something you can see to continuously remind yourself about the goal that you've set. Normal contracts often need to be referenced, and yours will need to be as well. Feeling tired and want to stay in bed late, even though your goal was to exercise for 30 minutes, 5-days a week? Well, maybe seeing that contract hanging on your bathroom mirror might motivate you to getting those gym clothes on and doing some pazaz.