Goal setting - use SMART goals to write the next chapter of your life.

Use SMART goals to write the next chapter of your life.

When planning the next chapter of your life think goals, whether this be general life goals, fitness goals, nutrition goals, or whatever is important to you.

Goals will help you start in the right direction and will allow you to go along the correct path. You also need to know that you are succeeding by working towards and achieving your goals. You need to make sure that you are setting the correct goals and that they are beneficial to your overall objectives. So, think, what do you want to achieve? Be prepared for hard work, determination, adopt a positive mindset, with lots of self- motivation.

Here are some rules that you will need to stick to

Set goals that will keep you motivated. You need to look at the key areas of your life, what do you want to achieve? It may be that you have had a yearly blood test and the results mean that there is an urgent need to become healthier and fitter. This requires a must do attitude, by doing this you will reduce the risk of disappointment and loss of motivation. The added urgency may assist in reaching a set goal.

However, there is absolutely no point in setting goals that you know you are not going to achieve. I am all for everyone moving more and exercising regularly but there is no point in setting goals to run a marathon when you know that you are never going to run one (or not yet anyway, running can become addictive). It may be that your first goal is to run 5km and then you decide to run it in under 30 minutes.

Tip – remember to write down all your goals.

SMART goals

Set yourself some SMART goals – using this acronym will help guide you to write a set of clear and carefully planned goals.

• Specific

• Measurable

• Achievable

• Relevant

• Timely

The goals need to be well defined; the goals should show you the way forward, the goals need to be specific to what you want to achieve.

You need to make sure that you can measure your progress over a period of time. For example, if you want to lose a stone in weight, perhaps your goals should be to lose a pound a week. You know that this is measurable and leading onto the next part, achievable.

Consistency is key

Try not to set inconsistent goals so finely tune your goals to where you want to go. If I want to travel from A to B I choose the quickest most direct route. There is absolutely no point in wasting your valuable time. Lastly make sure goals are timely, you want to develop goals that not only help you to achieve your aims but they also become good habits. For example, you want to become fitter and lose weight before a holiday and a family event in 3 months' time.

You start by walking and you increase this to jogging. You run further kilometres every week until you can run 5 km comfortably. At the same time, you start your goals to eat a healthier diet, cut sugar, salt, and bad fats and you eat more fruit, veg, beans etc. You reach your goals before your 3-month deadline. Great, but there is no point in going back to how you were, so keep these good habits going, keep running, keep training and keep eating well.

Tip – download a To Do list and make sure that your goals and action plan are at the top.

Resilience and the ability to still progress when down

Do not shirk tasks because they are difficult, face these tasks with a positive and undefeatable mindset.

Resilience needs to grow as you grow, you will have ups and downs and the measure of your progress is how you bounce back when you are down.

This leads me on to my last two helpful bits of advice, write an action plan and stick with it.

Actions plans are vital especially as we tend to become so fixated on the result that we forget the steps required along the way. Write each step and then cross it off as you go. For example, the 5k run goal. Create a wall plan and then cross off every achieved goal at 1km, 2km etc, this will keep you motivated for the entire process.

Take notice of time management

The second states the importance of time management to reach your goal(s). If you have a busy job, children and other commitments you need to think carefully as to when you can work through the action plan to tick off the steps on route to achieving your goals. This potentially means that you may have to get up at 06:00am to run 3 times a week. It may be difficult; it may not be ideal but it will work.

Additionally, if you are trying to maintain a healthy diet, plan your meals, write shopping lists, make sure that you have the food you need. If it helps and is financially sustainable look to subscribe to a home delivery service such as Gousto or Hello Fresh (these services all have introductory offers).

My key points

So, the key points are: set your main goal, use SMART, define these goals, use a To Do list and action plan, journal everything, maintain motivation and a positive mindset, do not take shortcuts and do not give up.

More importantly use all of this to write the next chapter of your book.

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Paul Brown – CBT Practitioner |Life Coach

Mental Health First Aid Instructor | Workplace Well-being

Be headstrong. Be healthier. Be happier. Be more productive

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