How to Set Goals

I hate New Year’s Resolutions!

In my experience, resolutions are usually vague and and quickly forgotten. Total waste of time…! But goal setting is very different.

Setting goals gives you a list of specific, measurable, achievable actions, that, importantly, resonate with you, are meaningful and you can see the benefits from them on a much shorter and defined timescale.

I have had goals since my early to mid twenties (albeit loosely and inconsistently) but I started setting goals in the way I’m going to write about today around May last year.  I was in a place where, I’d had two babies and I was just trying to get through the days and figure out what the hell I was doing! I was overwhelmed and overweight, I had no energy and I pretty much felt like I was failing at life if I’m honest. I didn’t have anything I did outside of that, and I was feeling pretty low – both emotionally and in terms of my self confidence.  When I looked in the mirror I felt like I was looking at somebody else; I distinctly remember being reminded of some fairy tale type scenario where the person looks in a pond and sees an ogre staring back at them.  I have no idea if that’s normal I’m just being honest.  It wasn’t nice though.

That was the time I came across the Beachbody home workouts.  It honestly was the catalyst for a major life change, and as a result of joining the community of women who were all doing these workouts I was told about a book called ‘The Miracle Morning’.  I ordered the family version, read it, and immediately set goals in the way it was outlined in the book.  It was an incredibly transformational time for me personally and I now keep goal setting and fitness very much at the top of my list – not just for physical health but, crucially for my mental health too.  There is something very important about actively working towards what you actually want, rather than working against yourself, and seeing progress.

Since then I’ve refined and simplified my goal setting method and merged it with some other techniques I tried.  I sincerely hope it’s of help to others like it was to me.  Do remember though that this is just how I do it, ultimately the best method for goal setting is the one you’ll actually use.

HOW TO SET GOALS

Step 1: Get a blank sheet of paper and a cup of tea.

Step 2: Using the following headings (and do feel free to create some of your own, split them down, merge them, or whatever works for you) think about how YOU feel about that area of your life.  I’ve added a few starting points to get you thinking.  And rate each category on a scale of 1-10.  Think about the things you want to work on and jot them down.  Think about what you want and write that down too.  At this point don’t worry about wording, just get it down.

{Love / Relationships}  This can be your partner, friends, your children, wider family.  How do you feel about those relationships?  Perhaps your in a toxic relationship and need to do something about it.  Are you single and 100% happily so.  Are there some friends that you could do without?  Are YOU being the wife / friend / mother you want to be?

{Personal Development} Are there technical skills you want to acquire?  How’s your spirituality?  Are you the worst procrastinator on earth (like me 😉 oops!).  What kind of person do you really want to be?

{Hobbies / Passions / Purpose} Do you feel constructive?  How many things do you do for the sheer JOY of it?  Have you found your niche?

{Physical Health} Do you lack energy?  Are you unfit, overweight, underweight? Suffering from a medical condition? Whatever it is, think about what you can do to improve your physical health.

{Mental Health} Do problems send you off in an irrational spin?  Are you feeling down generally? Are you angry?  Do you take time to rejuvenate?

{Finances} Are you happy with your financial situation?  Are you able to cover your needs?

These questions are all just prompts / examples to get you thinking, rather than specific questions you need to answer.  It can mean whatever sits right with you.

Step 3: Now it’s time to get to work turning this into actual goals! These will be specific actions, that are tangible, measurable and achievable (yet still a bit challenging) within the next 3 months maximum.  So, for example,

“I want to lose weight” is not going to cut it.

On the other hand; “I will prioritise a 30 minute workout four times per week no matter what” – now that is a goal.

Instead of just focusing on what you want, it is specific about what you’re going to DO in order to achieve it and how often you’re going to do it.

Another example could be:

Instead of “I want to spend more time with the kids” write “I will read to the kids for 15 minutes every evening before bed” or “I commit to taking the kids for a family swim every other Sunday morning.”

The place to start is the area of your life that you rated the lowest and then work through the rest.

Step 4: Put your goals in a place where you will see them and read them every day.  You could get fancy and laminate them and put them up in the shower, personally I’m not fancy.  I stick mine on the side of the fridge so I see them every time I make a cup of tea.  A friend of mine puts hers on the inside door of her wardrobe.  It doesn’t matter where, just ensure that you see them naturally without having to dig them out.  I believe that the act of just having goals and seeing them, is beneficial in itself.  Once you start acting on them too – you’ll be amazed I promise.

Step 5: Every month, review your goals, recognise any progress you’ve made and update them as you need to.  Don’t be afraid to tweak them.  In the beginning I personally found that I had so many it was overwhelming and so I cut it down to a few and that was much better for me.  Keeping them relevant and alive is key, and so is seeing your progress. It will keep you motivated.

That’s it!

I really, genuinely and wholeheartedly hope that this helps you.  Please do let me know if it does.

Nat x

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