As we end another ‘unusual’ year and start a new one, it is a time to look forward with positiveness. We all look at a new year differently, but I am sure most of you reading this look at it as a chance to start something new, take something up or even give something up. So, I wanted to offer a little guidance in how to achieve goals or set up some boundaries to help keep something new going.
How to set up goals
This may sound easy – just say ‘I am going to do …’ or ‘I will give up …’. However, look at how many times you have set yourself these little goals and they haven’t lasted or life just got in the way!!
Therefore, think about what you would like to change, or want to change to make your life less stressful or less exhausting:
- 1st decide on what you would like to do
- look at it and look at how easy/practical it is to do
- Is it something that means you need to give up a few things to achieve it?
The way goal/ aims/ hobbies or habits work is down to starting small and gradually increasing or adding in something. Think again if you think you can just go the whole hog and give everything up at once or start 2 or 3 things all at once. Look again at what you are looking to change/take up etc. Can you make it smaller or do it taking up the least time you need?
Choose something that you WILL enjoy. Look at the overall goal and think about what you enjoy about it. IF you don’t look at how you can begin to enjoy doing it/living without it!!
Set an End to your goal
This is one of the most important things to do. Set a time period for your achieving your goal. If you say it is forever, then there is no end in sight and hence much harder to keep to. Yes, maybe you do need to really stop something for your health & it will be for life BUT you can use the timing to gradually introduce this goal into your life.
For example: You HAVE to start moving more because you could become diabetic if you don’t get moving. To achieve this is NOT to go and start running every day, having not run in years. What you would need to do is say in one month you will have built up your walking to 2 or 3 miles a day. This means you will not get injured, you won’t get put off by finding it so hard and you have an set time to achieve it.
Once you have reached your 1st month then you look ahead at what is the next stage and what you would like to do or carry on doing by the end of month 2 – eg either maintain the daily walks OR maintain them AND add in the Couch 2 5K. Something like that.
Timings and having a time to achieve your change is THE most important and is what will help you achieve it.
This is similar or interlinked with the above. I am always suggesting to my clients/ classes – to start making time for themselves. However, the only way to do this is to literally allow 5 minutes a day to do something for themselves.
This is the same with your goal setting. You have you time period set & now you look at what you are trying to achieve and how you can very gradually make time for it. So it really can be starting at 5 minutes or getting out for a 10 minute walk to start.
If you set too big a goal, you will not necessarily have the motivation or time to achieve it. Whereas saying 10 minutes of exercise/walking is very achievable and then you end up really enjoying it and it ends up being 15 or 20 minutes as you have happily extended the time moving without really noticing it!!
Don’t give yourself a hard time
It is all about doing something you enjoy or need to do, gradually and about trying to do it every day/every 2 days or 1x week – whatever is right for you. IF you don’t manage it on the day you said you were going to do it – don’t put pressure on yourself and feel you have failed. You haven’t – you just say you WILL do it the next day instead. Move on!
Give yourself rewards!
It is important to congratulate yourself, so look at saving a bit of money and doing something nice for you, at the end of each goal or part of goal achieved. This could be anything that you would really enjoy – a day out at the Lido, a meal with friends, massage, fascial, a cookery class etc. If you have to save some money then do, but make sure you do something nice to say well done!
Plan / look at what time you have
This is important. There is no use in saying you will take up running in January if 1. you have never run before/not run for a long time & 2. if you are away with work for a few days a week – which mean a 6am start and not home till 7pm. So look at your month, plan out the days you CAN do the exercise/goal and PUT THEM IN YOUR DIARY. If it is something that can be planned out like that, then make it an appointment in the diary so it can’t be cancelled or double booked!
Get help with your goal & tell people what you are doing!
By telling friends/family what you would like to achieve in a month’s time then you are making a concrete decision to do it! Ask them to help by not tempting you with the sofa and wine or biscuits! Ask them to help monitor what you are doing – get the kids to do it with you maybe??
There are now so many apps, watches or programmes you can follow – so if you are motivated by them then invest in one. I gave my husband a Garmin – it changed his whole exercise routine. He is a results/tech person so he wanted to achieve his steps each day, do the challenges on the app and before he knew it he was doing double/triple what he had done before and felt SO much better for it. He wouldn’t listen to me, but he would be motivated by his watch and what Garmin set him!!
Join a class or a group
No matter what your goal may be – if you are paying for something or accountable to someone then you are generally more likely to turn up. If you need to move, then find a class you enjoy – dancing, gym classes, cycling group, fitness & strength classes, gardening groups, walking groups – anything YOU LIKE.
- set a realistic goal that you can build on
- set an end time to achieve the goal
- build in something that you will enjoy
- give yourself rewards – fascial, massage, day out etc
- tell friends / family to get help with motivation
- invest in something that helps motivate you – apps, watch, PT, nutritionist
- plan ahead so you can make time for it
- start small to make it achievable
- SMILE and BELIEVE that you CAN do it!