Photo credit: DarrenHester from morguefile.com

Goal setting may be, for some, quite a daunting task that is simply just too hard to do alone. Perhaps limited experience in childhood with setting clearly defined goals is the reason. Others may have had negative experiences associated with failing to reach goals. Some people may have been coached on this skill, achieved success, thus, finding goal setting to be a pleasurable experience. Creating a list of things to accomplish can make them already feel a sense of accomplishment.

So what gets in the way of setting clear goals? (creating them and writing them down or making up a motivation chart)

  • Time and energy?
  • Fear of failure… or success? (yes this is also a concern for many)
  • Not feeling good enough/low self-esteem?
  • Distractions and difficulty focusing?
  • Worry and anxiety about the future?

When we can identify the obstacles (real or imagined) then it becomes a little bit easier to begin setting smaller goals to overcome these roadblocks to our success. Facing our fears head on, with help as required, opens possibilities, builds confidence and increases our chance of success.

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals is a great first goal!

It also helps to identify our strengths, resources along with areas we struggle with or that require improvement so goal achievement is more likely to occur. Drawing upon our inner and outer resources is essential to our success so being clear about these aspects greatly improves our ability to set SMART goals.

Once we create our goals, what’s next?  When we set a goal to improve our marriage, get a promotion at work or perhaps even run our first Boston Marathon, we are then well advised to consider the small, incremental steps that need to happen for this big accomplishment to take place?

Sometimes, when we create our goals, write them in our notebooks or post them on our walls, we assume things will fall into place on their own.  However, two important elements need to be in the mix in order for goals to be accomplished:  intentional effort and accountability.

Intentional effort:  Making your goals present in your day-to-day life.  We may set a goal to fulfill a year from now but we need to be consciously doing our diligence each day.  The promotion we seek, the improved marriage or the goal of running a marathon requires thoughtful consideration and consistent attention in order to carry out the multitude of “baby steps” or objectives along the way.

Accountability: When we create goals, it is important to speak them, sharing these with others. Research shows that the more people you share your goals with, the greater chance you have to accomplish them.  Why?  People will ask, encourage, remind and even hold us accountable. Most will do so in a loving and supportive way.  When people hold us accountable, they believe we can accomplish what we have set out to do. This spurs us on to run a great race toward the prize.

For more information on goal setting and self-development, book an appointment with us today.

 

STOP! And Think About It

Pop culture social media has shown to have a great impact on our lives. With the holidays approaching and a new year to celebrate, much of the media flooding may be on fitness: looking your best this holiday season and setting weight loss resolutions for the new year.

Growing up, do you remember what your mom used to say about looking good? “You need to have a nice shape and always look your best so you can find a great man!” or perhaps you have heard these ones: “Stand up straight” and “Men like women who wear skirts and dresses!” Social media and pop culture (paired with life teachings from mom) can have a strong influence on girls’ perceptions. As a result, our thinking patterns and behavioural choices around exercise and “fitness” may over cater to these pre-programmed “ideals” of what our society accepts and, at times, demands (e.g. slim figures, fashion-forward dressing, and money-hungry jobs equates to a successful life).

Crash exercising is often about as unsuccessful as crash dieting. It only provides temporary results. It may create a dangerous shock to the body and increase risk of injury. It can also provide detrimental effects when we’ve followed a strict workout regime, only to see our efforts have not produced the results we wanted for our bodies.

The moment we decide that we want to workout just to look good, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We will be so focused on the inch here and the pound there, that we neglect attending to the additional benefits of regular physical activity. We also tend to focus so much on a timeline (i.e., a weight loss to be achieved by a specific time period). Especially with physical goals, we all too often aim to “lose” something rather than generating a positive approach… “aiming to gain” (e.g. health, energy, stamina).  A negative emphasis creates stress and worry ensuring our “number-associated” results will not be up to par or “good enough”.

So why workout? If it’s not to look good, what’s the point? This mentality can all too frequently, especially for females, fuel thoughts and feelings of comparisons to others, self-judgment, hyper-criticism and scrutiny. Being in a state of constant comparison with others, with “fitter” body shapes and “better” physical attractiveness, eats away at our sense of satisfaction, happiness, self-worth and joy.

When we shift our thoughts from looking good to feeling good, the additional benefits of exercising and an active lifestyle will start to kick in. Feeling good about ourselves and our fitness accomplishments boost our moods and influences us to engage in additional positive behaviours. This feel-good-do-good phenomenon benefits not only our lives, but the people around us as well: loved ones, families, coworkers and friends.

Counselling sessions with a professional, registered therapist can help begin this cognitive shifting process; a renewing of the mind if you will, an intentional reorganizing of our thoughts, like files in folders, so that we get the results and emotional energy we’re seeking. Get support today to achieve your healthier lifestyle goals. To book your start up session for the New Year… call us today!

Sometimes we wander day-to-day wondering what is next or perhaps not even wondering at all… just living. After a while, this can lead to indirection, misdirection and a sense of aimlessly plodding through life. To avoid apathy and the awful potential to implode… it is important to set clear goals that provide direction for life.

Getting what we want out of life requires intentional effort.

Minimize the chance of setting vague goals by using the acronym SMART. This can give direction to your goal setting and improve successful outcomes:

S = Specific: we want to be sure the goal is clearly stated with enough detail about exactly what we want to achieve.

M = Measurable: goals that are measurable can be easier to attain because we’ll know when we have reached them.

A = Attainable: Ensure you are realistic when setting goals making them something within (or slightly above) your capacity at the time.

R = Relevant: motivation increases when we believe the goal is important and meaningful. A passionate feeling about the task helps.

T = Timely: Set exactly when you want to reach the goal. This can add motivation.  Timing can always be adjusted if need be.

Using this  mnemonic can help remind us of the important components to goal setting. If you want to be even SMARTER about the task;

E = Evaluate: Be sure to look back at your accomplishment and rate how you did, what got in the way and what might improve next time.

R = Reward: To keep our energy and motivation  to reach goals high, be sure to give yourself a little (or big) reward for your efforts and also for achieving success!

Be goal-directed. Set smart goals today and see your excitement and motivation for life improve?

Have fun!