body goals that Spark Your motivation and Action

-   James Stevenson, EMCC Accredited Coach, Applied Positive Psychologist and Coaching Psychologist -

Making positive changes with your body can be frustrating! When you make some changes It's so easy to slip back to previous habits...

Have you been thinking about your body goals recently? Where you'd like to be... Where you are now... and what the first steps might be...

Whether your body goal is about self acceptance, losing weight, loving your body... whatever your goal is, I'm an accredited and trauma-informed wellbeing coach and positive psychologist and can offer some support.

Below, as well as my thoughts and relevant research, you'll find printable worksheets to help you get down and think through where you want to go. There's also a list of ideas to get the creative juices flowing. All this is grounded in goal setting science and psychological studies to give you the most realistic shot of progress. 

Your body... one of the most frustrating challenges!!!

Making body progress can be seriously tough. You might make some changes and start to feel the difference which is lovely, then as the momentum starts to lag it can become difficult to carry on... 

If changing weight is your hope, It might feel like there's constantly stuff that gets in the way! Managing Christmas, birthdays, Easter, parties, weddings, the weekend... If cost is an issue, it doesn't help that chocolate and crisps etc are much cheaper when you buy huge amounts. 

...and other people can be just as big an obstacle. Maybe they don't take your attempts to change seriously and instead of being supportive and helpful seem to hold you back and make it more difficult.

All too often the relationship with food and trauma are related. I facilitate groups for survivors of trauma and have been hearing about the connection for years... people talk about overeating a way of numbing or avoiding painful emotions or sensations that are trying to arise. Sometimes finding multiple alternatives to managing these emotions can begin to turn the tide of change. 

A PDF copy of the body goals worksheet above can be downloaded here.

I wish you loving acceptance of your feelings and your challenge, understanding and care, and warm support... people who can really listen to you... I hope you can say "I feel grateful to have so-and-so in my life. They've been such a good support and they appreciate how important this is to me".

As a coach, I often work with clients on creating health changes. I've noticed that good role models and support can make such a big difference in creating change. This is also backed up by multiple studies in wellbeing and psychology. Always feel free to reach out to me if you want to know more. One in particular is research which identifies 4 areas that support self-efficacy and success (Bandura, 1997).

Make today a fresh beginning!

With an idea of your vision, and a sense of it's importance for you, how it's meaningful, you can take one more significant step forward. 

No matter how far away it may seem, you can get there somehow... someday... and just think how it will feel even when you're 10% closer?! as the momentum begins to build...

A few more points you may wish to consider when setting a body goal

1. Consider the many types of body goals

There are so many different body goals that you might go for...

As well as goals that aim to directly change the body (adjust weight, increase muscle mass, decrease body fat %), the ideas below may also be of interest.

One of my favourite lecturers when I did my Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology Masters Degree, Kate Heffron (2015) is one of the leading experts worldwide on the body and many of the ideas below are from her excellent work.

One idea might be to combine a body change goal with a body appreciation goal for a balanced approach. 

  1. Create a greater awareness of what you like about your body already.
  2. Heightened awareness of the positive functionality of your body rather than the image, i.e. what's working well or what's serving you well.
  3. A goal to treat your body in some way. Just think of all the possibilities...
  4. To learn a new way of moving your body that enhances your opinion of your body and also your well-being. 
  5. A goal to decorate your body. To adorn it with beautiful items in a place and way that feels natural to you.
  6. Dressing your body in a new way that impacts how you feel about your body? 
  7. Embodiment - or how well you hear what your body is telling you or your level of responsiveness to your body. One potential goal might be to listen more and identify sensations you were previously unaware of. 
  8. Greater awareness of the connection between your body and your emotions
  9. How about a focus on straighter body posture to positively impact how proud you feel about your achievements and better mood generally.
  10. Body image... For example, how positively you picture your body in your mind
  11. Developing a loving acceptance of your perceived body imperfections. I'm sure you could come up with many creative ways of doing this.

A PDF copy of the body appreciation goals worksheet at the top of this page can be downloaded here.

In fact, all these ways of interacting with the body have been found in various studies to slightly or moderately increase satisfaction with life and happiness (Heffron, 2016). Why not choose one direction for now, use the worksheet up to support you, and pop back and try another direction later. Eventually with good support and a open mind you're sure to find a way.

As you can see there are many ways to go about setting body goals. I hope you choose a wise path that resonates with you.

2. Make the most of moments when you're feeling hopeful

To make decisions based on your inspired self and not your worried or afraid self is solid advice. Of course it can be tricky in practice. Often the inner critic can pop up precisely when you decide to make changes and try something new.

Managing this and the related emotions is important work, especially in the midst of real life and all it's business, stresses, and pressures. All that said, whether you're thinking short term or long term, I'd recommend make a start of some kind and being open, even expecting it to be difficult. Who knows how far you can go? You’ll certainly never know unless you try! 

3. Remember the truest purpose of a goal

The most important function of a goal is to stir forces, to create movement and momentum and to serve as a motivating factor when things get in the way and become difficult. and this process can be renewed and refreshed again and again. I hope you're able to remember this, and be kind to yourself along the way, accepting the forces that seem to hold you back as inevitable and even an important part of the whole.

The WiseGoals way is to celebrate your progress and learning and development and make the journey as well as the outcome as enjoyable as is feasibly possible. Best of Luck and feel free to get in touch if you'd like some extra support! 

James Stevenson is the owner of and a qualified and accredited wellbeing and philosophy coach.

He works with clients in an patient, understanding and creative way to help them apply great philosophical ideas and psychological scientific findings so they can flourish in a way that leads to them also contributing to a better world.

The development of a strong sense of mattering and agency, alongside deep understanding of inner and outer obstacles give clients a powerful coaching experience. More about James here


Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Heffron, K. (2015) in Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life. 2nd Edition. Wiley.

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Finally Seeing Progress with Your Body? Want To Inspire Others? Share the Approach that has Worked Best for You

Found a way to make progress in your body goals? Finally lost some weight or toned up nicely? Why not share your story and your top tips so others can make the same great progress you have

Your Inspiring Stories of Reaching Your Body Goals

Click on the links below to see stories sure to inspire and encourage about getting a great body. They were all written by other visitors to this page.

Reaching My Body Goals Through Sports 
I progressed towards my body goals through sports, always competing to be the best, and learning from the Pro’s. When I was 13 at secondary school …

From Overweight To Body Goal Progress  
My body goal progress from being overweight to 10% body fat has been helped by having a clear picture of what I want, why I want it, and being willing …

Click here to write your own.

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