How to set – and keep – your goals
Want to use September to kickstart a healthy eating plan? Or perhaps you want to take your side hustle into a main hustle? Here are six ways to ensure your goals get going:
- The best way to start with any new goal is to break it down. Think about the results you want to see – this will help you work out whether it’s the right goal for you right now.
- Make it smart! Once you’re certain of the goal you want to hit, you need to make it a SMART goal. Make sure the goal is:
- Specific: The more specific or narrow they are, the easier they will be to achieve. If you want to get healthy, make your goal to work out every day or to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg.
- Measurable: You can easily get downhearted if you don’t see results, so work out what they. If it’s saving enough money to go on a dream holiday, give yourself a monthly amount to save – rather than just concentrating on the bigger amount.
- Attainable: Yes, you want to push yourself, but if your goal isn’t attainable or possible to accomplish, you’ll soon go off track.
- Realistic: As much as we’d all like to marry Brad Pitt by the end of the year, if you’re single, your goal should more likely be to go on 3 dates next month!
- Time-bound: A date helps you keep focused and provides you with something to work towards.
- The best way to make those goals stick is to write them down. I like to keep my goals somewhere visual – usually on a Post-It note by my desk. Seeing them everyday reminds me of what I need to accomplish.
- Create a timeline. For bigger goals it can be helpful to break it down and give yourself mini deadlines. So, if your goal is to buy a bigger house, the first task maybe to consult a mortgage advisor; the second may be to get your house valued. Again, making this timeline visual will help to keep you on track.
- Do it! Studies have shown that it’s important to form a habit, so if your new habit is more exercise, don’t say you’re going to hit the gym every day – or even three days a week. Just say you’re going to exercise every day – this might not mean an intensive HIIT class, it could be some days going for a long walk – doing it consistently over an extended period of time means you develop a habit. This new habit needs to be a non-negotiable – something you do every single day, even if you don’t feel like it. That’s why you should really concentrate on only a one or two goals so you can consistently do them day in, day out, until they stick and become a habit.
- Review your progress. Sometimes it may seem like you’ve not got very far with your goal, so it’s great to have a regular review to actually see what you have done and also where you perhaps need to adapt something, so it works better for you.
Our product partners on the Marketplace are all goal-setting ninjas, so we asked them for their top tips on how they deal with getting side-tracked, making their new habits stick and why colour can be so important…
“I don’t have a problem with setting goals, it’s achieving them in a straight line I struggle with! Like many people I can easily get side-tracked as I’m juggling many hats with work, home, kids, life etc! I’ve tried different ways to keep on track with planners, apps, etc but the best thing for me is just to write everything down where I ca can see them. I’m visual so I write my goals for that week/month/qtr on the wall. Being honest, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t! The trick is not to be hard on yourself. You can only do what you can do and if something else interrupted, then that’s fine.”
Julia Vearncombe, skin:genius
“I tend to start by setting out my intentions rather than use the words goals, so for example my September intentions are:
- Regular meal planning
- Cut down on alcohol intake
- Solitary morning dog walk using time to meditate
- Making an effort to put work clothes on, do nails, do hair rather than lounge wear!
My goal is to get back on track after the summer into a regular routine by the end of September. It just feels a bit more achievable for me this way and I’ve found clients get really hung up on the word “goal” that it puts too much pressure on already very pressured lives.”
Kate Tilston, Practical Life Coach
“The colour green can really help align your thoughts when you feel overwhelmed – especially when you’re trying to achieve goals. Green allows things to naturally blossom and bloom in the process. Colour in with green, especially at night-time before you go to bed, to help anchor anything that is overwhelming you right now – it balances your brains out and helps you think objectively. By the time you wake up in the morning, you can start to look at things differently – you may even come up with new ideas on how to do something or reach a goal you’ve set.”
Justine, Art Behaviour
“Set small targets, don’t put too much pressure on yourself with huge goals, as often you will miss the small achievements that help you to reach your big goals. It’s far easier to focus solely on the end goal and not appreciate quite how incredible the journey can be!
I also like to make a vision board/diagram/ladder diagram with the end goal at the top and each step you need to take to get there. Having a visual representation helps us see how POSSIBLE things are, and what needs to be done to get there! PIN IT UP, put it somewhere you will look at it every morning to help with motivation. If you’re struggling, then look at it and see how many steps you have ticked off or what your next step is, and BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT!”
Michelle, Breedon Perfumer
Want to start feeling strong?