Article by Daniel Brown 31.12.14
As we head towards the end of 2014, many of us will be thinking about what we would like to achieve in 2015. New Year’s resolutions are made by millions of people each year, but so many of us don’t end up achieving them. Whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking or making a complete new start in life, there are ways you can help yourself.
When working on goal setting with clients I like to use the SMART method. It helps to create a watertight plan of action that can result in you achieving your goals more easily.
The SMART method is:
Specific – Think about exactly what you want to achieve. This will help to make your goal clearer. Consider what is motivating you to make changes. If you’re strongly motivated this will help you to overcome any obstacles more easily. If your goal is to lose weight or eat more healthily, make it a bit more specific than telling yourself you are going to eat more healthily. Instead say that you are going to eat fruit in the evening instead of a bar of chocolate. What you decide as being the goal set you up for whether you are going to achieve it or not, so it’s good to make sure it is a very specific goal that you have in mind rather than something general.
Measurable – Putting a number on what you want to achieve can make it more doable. It’s important to be able to track your progress and know when you have succeeded in achieving what you set out to do. Using losing weight as an example again, if you want to do more exercise, say that you will go swimming twice a week or running three times a week.
Achievable – If you want to become president of the USA or be cast as the next Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig, you may find you end up disappointed when you don’t achieve those things. When setting any goal you need to make sure it’s realistic and can actually be achieved. The last thing you want is to feel like a failure when your goal isn’t achieved, so it’s ok to start small and build up your goals. So if you want to eventually run a marathon, start small and tell yourself that you will aim to run for twenty minutes. Once you have mastered that you can build up until eventually you can run that marathon.
Relevant – Does your goal make sense to you? It should, otherwise how are you going to achieve it? Your goal should apply to you, so don’t commit to doing something that you don’t actually want to do. If you decide you need to eat a banana for a snack each day but don’t really like bananas, don’t set it as a goal.
Timely – To stop procrastination from taking hold it’s good to have a clear deadline in mind when setting your goal. When you have a deadline set, put in on your calendar or in your diary and mark off the days. Make sure your deadline is realistic though. If you are overweight and want to lose six stone, don’t put extra pressure on yourself by saying you’ll lose all of that weight in just two months. Give yourself the year to do it and take your time. The outcome will be much more positive.
Once you’ve made sure the things you want to achieve are SMART, there are a number of other things to keep in mind that will help you to reach your goals.
1. Every day can be a starting point. If you don’t get started on your plan as soon as the New Year arrives, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you don’t get started, there will always be tomorrow. Of course that’s not an invitation to procrastinate and not do anything to achieve your goal, but keep in mind that there are 365 days in a year so it’s ok if you get half way through January and realise you haven’t done what you said you were going to do.
2. Don’t be scared. If you want to do something in 2015 then go for it and don’t allow fear to hold you back. It may be a difficult journey to get to where you want to be in life, but tell yourself every day that you have the power to believe and achieve.
3. Take action. Talking about it doesn’t result in something positive happening. It’s taking action that will help you to achieve your goal.
4. Use your support networks. Involve family and friends in your goal and use them as a source of motivation. They may even have the same goals as you and then you can work on achieving them together. Going it alone may work better for you, but if you have supportive people around you don’t be afraid to use them.
5. Remember the SMART method.
Daniel Browne is a counsellor, hypnotherapist and coach. You can find out more about his work at http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk.