New Year, New Me (again). The Importance of Goal Setting
Every year we go through the same cycle of new years resolution. We have an incredible idea that will benefit us in the long run. We try our hardest to achieve the goal we set. By February we can’t even remember what our new years resolution was!
This is not an uncommon scenario. This blog is designed to give you the maximum chance of helping you achieve your new years resolution!
What are Goals?
Goals or targets, are things we want to achieve in a given time frame. Goals can be broken down into short and long term goals.
Long term goals are your end objectives. They are what you want to achieve. Long term goals may consists of financial gain, such as a promotion, health benefits, such as becoming fit and healthy, or something else that you value.
Short term goals consist of setting small achievable objectives which further progress you towards your end goal. They allow you to not be overwhelmed by the long term goal and can be used to track your progress towards it.
Goal Setting tips
Specific, realistic goals work best. Firstly the goals you set must be realistic. It is no good setting a goal you could never possibly achieve. You are much more likely to succeed if you set a realistic goal. The same can be said about specific. Setting a goal to eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day is much more achievable than setting a goal to eat healthier. By being realistic and specific, it is much easier to track and see progress, which inevitably leads to you continuing with working towards your goal.
It takes time for a change to become an established habit. As with anything in life real change takes time. You need to get used to the change in routine, a change in the norm. If you persist however, it is much harder to undo the habit once it has formed. Meaning that once you’re past the first few months you are much more likely to stick with it.
Repeating a goal makes it stick. Saying your goal out loud each morning reminds yourself of what you want and what you’re working towards. If talking to yourself isn’t you thing writing it down also works. Every time you remind yourself of your goal, you’re training your brain to make it happen.
Pleasing other people doesn’t work. The goal has to come from you and has to be about you. You shouldn’t be looking to change others with your goal. Firstly because, you will be probably fail and secondly they may not want to change. If you yourself don’t want to complete the goal you will not stick to it; or, if you do, it will be much harder than creating your own.
Roadblocks don’t mean failure. Everybody makes mistakes in life, if we didn’t we’d never learn. Mistakes allow our brain to grow and develop. Therefore if you slip up with your goal, or miss a day, don’t beat yourself up about it. It may take multiple attempts to finally achieve your goal. You just have to persevere with these things. (1)
A Goal example
I have made a video on goals and an easy method to track your short term goals. In the video we discuss an example of a long term goal, eating 5 fruit or vegetables a day.
Imagine you currently eat 1 fruit or vegetable a day and you want to progress to 5 fruit or vegetables by the end of the month. In this example we have set a specific time frame, a month, and we have set a measurable realistic goal, 5 fruit or vegetables. We won’t beat ourselves up about it if we miss 1 day and we haven’t forced this goal on others.
You could just go straight from 1 fruit or vegetables a day to 5 but you are more likely to fail as it is a big jump. That is why we use a technique called graded exposure. This technique trains the brain to accept something new by gradually exposing the brain to it. So each week for the next month we will add 1 fruit or vegetable to our diet. At the end of each week we will reward ourselves with a massage. By gradually adding 1 extra fruit or vegetable and by rewarding our progress, we are much more likely to continue than if we dive straight in.
Ask an Expert
If you are struggling with defining goals or following through with them, plus you’ve tried the techniques in this blog, it may be an idea to ask an expert for help.
Life coaches help you map out your values in life and subsequently allow you to create your own goals from them. They can talk you through accountability and set processes in place to stop you giving up. Sometimes all you need is a bit of clarity to produce meaningful and worthwhile goals that you can work towards. At Acorn Health we have our experienced Life Coach Rhiannon who can work with you to help you achieve your targets for 2020.
Osteopaths and Chiropractors also look to help you achieve your goals. These goals usually resolve around pain and how it’s affecting your daily life. By specifying exactly what the pain is stopping you from doing, we can work more effectively to reach your end goal and return you back to where you want to be. However, they are not limited to just pain goals. They can help you with general lifestyle changes and answer questions or concerns about your health/goals.
An example of how Osteopaths can help you achieve your goals involves a female patient of mine. This patient suffered from lower back pain however, she could tolerate the pain. The main thing she was concerned about was not being able to play with her son on the floor. We worked together to establish a goal of being able to play with her son on the floor, for an hour, within the next month. By using both hands on treatment, of mobilising the lower back and releasing off tight musculature, as well as home exercises we came up with a tailored treatment plan. Subsequently after the initial treatment she was able to reach the floor and come back up. Then after a few more sessions she had achieved her goal and no longer experienced the pain.
It is good idea to start using these techniques and seeking assistance now, whilst you have lots of motivation to carry out your goals/ new years resolution. Hopefully this will be the year that the new years resolution will be achieved!
View my video here: