Set Goals. Reach. Repeat.
Having goals for things we want to do and working towards them is an important part of being human. The path towards our goals may not always run smoothly or be easy, but having goals, whether big or small, is part of what makes life good. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, points us in the direction we want to go and gets us interested and engaged, all of which are good for our overall happiness.
Well begun is half done.
Think of something you want to do or work towards. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s something you want to do – ideally something you’re interested in or feel excited by. It should be something you want to do for its own sake not for something or someone else. It can be a big thing or a small thing – sometimes it is easier to get going with something small. And it often helps if it’s something that’s just a little bit beyond what you currently can do – goals that stretch us can be motivating!
Write it down
Carefully. Writing down our goals increases our chances of sticking with them. Write down how you will know you have reached your goals and when you’d like to have achieved it by. Ask yourself: what it will ‘look’ like and how will you feel when you’ve done it? How does it connect to who or what you value in your life? Describe your goal in specific terms and timescales e.g. ‘I want to plant lettuces, carrots and peas in the empty patch in my garden by the end of May’ rather than ‘I want to do some gardening.’ Write your goals in terms of what you want, not what you don’t want. For example: ‘I want to be able to wear my favourite jeans again’, rather than ‘I don’t want to be over-weight anymore’.
Break your goal down
This is especially important for big goals. Think about the smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger aim. Sometimes our big goals are a bit vague, like ‘I want to be healthier’. Breaking these down helps us be more specific. So a smaller goal might be ‘go running regularly’ or even ‘to be able to run around the park in 20 minutes without stopping’. Write down your smaller goals and try to set some dates to do these by too. Having several smaller goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives us a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that we’ll stay on track towards our bigger goal.