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New Year New Goals

Updated: Jan 1

Effective goal setting

It's that time of year again when we begin afresh, we assess what we want from the year ahead and we set ourselves goals and resolutions that we want to strive to achieve. Research has shown that the best time to begin new habits and set new goals is at the beginning of a change. Whether this be a change of home, a change of job or, of course, the change of a year. However, relying on will power and transition periods alone doesn't always work - as most of us have probably seen! So here is some advice around goal setting for those who are looking to set themselves goals this year.

The key to effective goal setting comes from understanding yourself and the goal in more detail.

Consider the following questions for each goal and write down your answers:

· Why do you want to change?

· What are the benefits?

· What has been holding you back?

· What will happen if you don’t make a change?

Choosing goals that are personal can be difficult to commit to but if you understand the challenges around the goals, what has prevented you from reaching your goals and why you are setting the goal, you will have a much better chance of succeeding.

Goal setting in uncertain times

Goal setting within these weird and strange times can maybe seem a little pointless. We can't go anywhere freely, we can't do anything freely, we feel like we can't move forward so we feel we are stuck, almost frozen in time. However, setting and achieving goals, even the small ones, is a way of moving forward. Having goals creates a sense of achievement, progression and creates the feeling of moving forward - no matter how small the steps are.

Here are some tips for setting goals during this uncertain time:

- Make the goals small. Setting small, incremental goals gives you more goals to work through which makes the process last longer and you feel the sense of achievement more frequently.

- Set attainable goals. When there are restrictions posed on us and these are likely to change regularly and unpredictably with circumstances, setting goals which are attainable within current circumstances will allow you to actually achieve them. Even if this means having a plan B, C and D.

- Process your disappointment. No matter how hard you may work at a goal, sometimes, especially with the current circumstances, there may be things you cannot achieve right now - whether you set them now or in the past. Potentially not being able to reach big goals and milestones such as getting married, moving or traveling is disappointing but to manage this disappointment in a healthy way will make all the difference. Simply acknowledging that not being able to get married at the moment and stating that "this is sad", "this is disappointing" will allow you to process your feelings, move forward and reset your goals in a more realistic and achievable way.

- Don't compare your goals to others'. Set goals and focus on what is right for you. Everyone has different ambitions and what is desired by one person maybe not be desirable for another. Goals are personal, they should be based around you, what you want within your life and not measured up by someone else's standards.

- Enjoy your goals. Have fun with your goals, see what you can achieve, enjoy the feeling of reaching them, ticking them off and embrace the process. Maybe create a game around them or have a celebration or give yourself a treat when you have accomplished one. Create joy where you can.

Goal setting tips

In addition to this, I have included a few more general great tips for goal setting:

- Make it realistic. Don’t set goals that are so high they are unachievable and you talk yourself out of them, start small if you have to and build on them. So if you want to exercise for 1 hour every day but you currently don’t exercise at all, try 15 minutes or half an hour first.

- Avoid all or nothing thinking. Instead of taking away all sweets, simply add a few more fruit and veggies

- Pair your goals. If you want to spend more time exercising and want to listen to more audio books, go for a run with your audiobook in your ears - “Kill two birds with one stone”.

- Have patience. A lot of goals are a process of hard work, focus and determination over a long period of time and not overnight.

- Reward yourself. Reward yourself with a nice (healthy if you want to) treat when you hit a milestone to stay motivated.

I hope this helps,

Shareen x

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