Tip #1 - Make your goal small and specific
Imagine an archer getting ready to shoot at a target. The archer is aiming to hit as close to the centre as possible (bulls-eye) and not the outer edges. This is similar to setting and achieving goals. When you set a general goal such as “lose weight” this is like a goal on the outer edge of the target. Having a goal that is more specific and smaller increases the achievability of the goal.
Instead of “lose weight” - > be specific such as “lose 25 pounds” (getting closer to the middle) and even more specific “lose 5 pounds this month” (centre of target).
The more specific the goal is the more the brain won’t rebel and try to come up with all the reasons why you shouldn’t try for that goal. When ideas aren’t crystal clear – it is like a ping pong ball bouncing around in our head with no idea which direction to go first. This leads to all of those great techniques we humans have to avoid things such as procrastination; cheating (“one tiny piece of cake won’t hurt”).
When the goal is “lose weight” – this doesn’t give a clear enough picture for our brain to know what to act on. However, when the goal is “lose 5 pounds in the next month” – there is a clearer, more achievable goal.
Tip #2 – Aim for one goal at a time
When there are too many areas to focus on we can stretch our energy too far, which leads to less commitment, time and focus on each goal. Continuing with the target analogy - imagine having 5 different targets that you are trying to hit and how much energy it takes to shoot five arrows. As soon as you shoot at one target (goal), you need to change your focus to the next target and so on.
Energy, focus and willpower are like cellphones batteries – the more we use them each day the lower the battery goes. So, the more that energy, focus and determination we spread between multiple goals the less we have to spend on accomplishing each target.
Caveat: Having different goals in different parts of your life can be ok. For example, if at work you have a work specific goal (e.g. honing a skill) and at home you have a home or wellness goal (e.g. fitness), this can work if you are able to maintain that separation.
Tip #3 – Notice what may be missing if your reach your goal
Most times we see our goals as positive and that logically we should want to reach them. However, we seldom stop and ask if there are possible negatives outcomes if I do reach this goal.
For instance, if the goal is to eat healthier food, take time to think about what things that you might be giving up. These consequences could be saying no to the dessert or sugary snacks that you enjoy. Achieving goals can also change our relationships with others and with ourselves. Will there be someone upset or uncomfortable if you lost weight? Being able to think through these situations can help you to plan on how to stay on target better.
If you would like individualized help to get started, restarted or help with staying on track with your goals or resolutions, call Heather at 604-375-3010 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org