Setting and Achieving Goals
With New Year on the way and a host of people having picked up new hobbies through the lockdowns, we understand you want to keep doing the things you love. Setting goals in a meaningful and achievable way will help you to continue doing so in a sustainable and enjoyable way.
Goals are commonly associated with physical challenges like running a marathon however, they can apply to everything. So this blog is all about identifying what goals you have, how you can achieve them and help you realise your capability.
Where are you stuck?
To identify your goals it can help to identify things you love and value doing. Once you’ve done that highlight what you’re finding difficult, areas to improve or things you want to keep doing, this could be anything such as:
The areas of your life you want to work on can be very broad but it’ll help you focus where you want to improve. If you feel you want to work on everything at once, Prioritise! What area is most important? Work on that for 4-8 weeks then revaluate how to move forward. By 4-8 weeks your goal may have become a habit and be a lot easier to sustain, making another goal manageable. If in doubt start easy! People have grand plans for January 1st and that’s part of the reason people fail. Measurable and achievable goals are key.
Perfection is Simple, Simple is Perfection.
Layering goals can lead to a higher success rate. Instead of stacking everything for January first, start now. Want to go to the gym more, start easy! Try walking into the gym once a week, then in two weeks try twice a week, etc. until you’re happy with the progress.
Create goals around the specific personal limitation you want to improve, such as -
As you can see the list is endless, most importantly it’s whatever you want it to be. People can suggest things but primarily the goal has to come from you. It can feel daunting to identify where you want to improve but the process will, with time, help you progress, You will gradually realise your capability with each goal achieved! It can be difficult to reflect and highlight flaws but knowing where you are at and where you want to be will help you continually improve. The process of goal setting can be scary and uncomfortable but, after all, diamonds are formed under immense pressure! With that said it’s Important to not be too hard on yourself, no one is perfect.
What are your goals?
So you’ve identified where you’re stuck, now it’s time to form some goals. Setting goals can be done in a formal process where you write things down using a SMART template (see below) or a more informal understanding of what you want to improve. Both are valuable but for true awareness I suggest the SMART template, especially if it’s your first time doing this. As you become accustomed it’ll become more natural. Throughout this I’ll highlight a physical goal (running 20k) and a skill goal (being more organised).
Authors Anecdote I’m a dad to a 2-year-old and in my 4th year of university who recently completed a 20k run and has had to become organised for a master’s degree in osteopathy (at least I try). I’ll try to highlight all the methods I’ve used to achieve those goals but as always ask if you have any questions!
Physical Goal – Running 20 kilometres
Skill Goal – Organisation
Multiple goals can be useful, just make sure they aren’t closely related, but it’s important to prioritise the goals to maintain focus and achievability.
You may have heard of this before but the SMART template enables goals to be formally analysed and if done correctly with consistency success rate is high. See the below link for further information.
Ensure the goal is specific to be manageable and not overwhelming
Running 20 kilometres - Begin running twice a week with the aim to run 20km
Organisation – Organise my university notes ensuring I write up every lecture
Use a metric to hold yourself accountable
Running 20 kilometres - In 6 months I will run 20k at the Mumbles Centurion
Skill Goal – Organisation – By the end of semester I will have at least 80% of my notes written up
Ensure the goal is tangible and allocate ways to do this with goals that are less tangible
Running 20 kilometres - 6 months is a suitable time to steadily build up from 0-20km in someone who rarely runs. I will also work with a coach to properly prepare.
Skill Goal – Organisation – I have the time and resources to be able to complete this
Ensure the goal is realistic and relevant to the area you want to improve. To improve have a backup plan for an uncontrollable variable halting progress. This is where you can highlight any limiting factors that could influence the goal e.g. finances
Running 20 kilometres - I have allocated enough time to suitable prepare my body but I’m prepared to delay the 20k run if I injure myself.
Organisation – Writing notes is important for my degree so focusing on this skill will improve my grades.
Set a time limit on the goal so you can measure the success, even if it’s a habit you want to continue into the future.
Running 20 kilometres - In 6 months at the Mumbles Centurion I will run a 20km trail run.
Organisation – By January 2022 I will have 80% of my notes written ensuring I’m prepared for upcoming examinations
Here’s some extra bits that can help you stay motivated and lead to a disciplined practice of whatever your goal entails.
Visualise – Take your goal and write down a note alongside your SMART plan telling yourself in the present tense I have run 20k or I am organised. Reminding yourself that this is something you can do.
Sign Up – Register for a challenge related to the goal, in my case the Mumbles Centurion. It’ll motivate you to continue training, in my case every week I set a reminder of how many weeks were left until race day.
Share – Tell everyone you hold dear, that you want to do something and how you will do it. The process of simply sharing your goals has been shown to increase adherence to the challenge and motivate people to carry on.
If you’re worried about telling others, tell one of the Health 360 Team at your next appointment, we’re here to motivate and help you along!
Most Importantly Stay Consistent
Don’t beat yourself up when you aren’t organised or miss a training session try to make up for it. Get that session done when you have time, write up those notes, whatever it is, try to focus on the task and don’t beat yourself up too much. We all mess up sometimes it’s not about the failure it’s getting back on your feet.
Discipline Equals Freedom – Jocko Willink – A book with various guides and quotes to get you smashing those goals.
Atomic Habits – James Clear – Why and how to form habits that positively impact your life and how to release the ones that negatively affect you.
The Art of Resilience – Ross Edgley – If you want to see what the human body and can do, read about Ross Edgley’s swim around Great Britain.
Attached is a FREE SMART template like the one above to give you a head start on your goal-setting journey!