I find it somewhat ironic to be sitting here at 3:41am in the morning just hours before a regular gym session writing an article about goal setting for beginners. The irony is that I have just arrived home from the 36 hour Christmas shopping trade at our local shopping centre. It’s become quite the annual tradition for me, I love the rush of roaming around solo a busy centre at midnight with thousands of other shoppers, some who are perhaps only just starting their list.
I’m a planner, one of those annoying people that writes absolutely everything down. I have lists for lists and most who know me well just accept it, while those that meet me for the first time are usually scratching their heads. Our goals are laminated and stuck up in the shower, seriously, I’m not kidding!! It’s always been something we’ve done and when we read over our goals each day consciously or subconsciously, things just seem to work out as planned for us.
Tonight I purchased a ‘day-per-page’ diary for each of our young girls for Christmas. The plan is to teach them about goal setting using a fun, bright and simple to use day planner. Thanks to the 50% off sale tonight at Smiggle on all diaries, it made the purchase much more enjoyable. What pre-tween girl doesn’t like Smiggle?
With just 1 week remaining in the year, Miss 6 and Miss 7 will embark on some exciting new adventures and it’s about time they were exposed to some fun ways to plan ahead and make the most of the opportunities that are ahead of them this coming year. Without a doubt I will ‘freak them out’ (a term they use when they are overwhelmed in life) if I try to overload their minds with complex and difficult goal setting strategies. So here are my tips for those just starting out:
Whatever it is that you want/need, write it down.
Thinking it means very little, a goal is merely a dream until it’s written down, electronically or otherwise. Treat yourself to some new stationary, a diary or even an app if you’re that way inclined. Whatever you do, you MUST write/type it down. Having a visual reminder is your secret weapon to achieving a higher percentage of your goals always.
An oldie but a goodie. Keep It Simple Silly 🙂 (stupid is a swear word in our house, so I’d better not use it here). What I mean by KISS is to ensure that you don’t launch into goal setting by trying to define and refine every single area of your life. Think of just one of two things that you really want and make these your focus.
Start SMART and small
Most people would have heard the term SMART goals, meaning Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic andTimed and I’m a BIG fan of this, but it’s possibly too much, too soon. Goals need to be realistic, so I’d recommend starting on one or two goals that can be focused on and achieved using the SMART strategy, while being conscious of not overcomplicating it too much.
Tell someone about it
It’s amazing how powerful sharing your goals can be. While not many people see the laminated version up in our shower, I’m a big advocate of letting others know of something I’m working, whether it’s a long term or shorter term goal. It’s nice having some accountability and surprising how much positive influence it has. Miss 7 is trying to stop biting her nails, so after telling us all her goal, we’re now all helping her be conscious of it when her hands wander habitually into her mouth. The power of your support network is not to be underestimated.
Regardless of how small the goal is, when you achieve it, you need to take a moment to reflect on what you have done. I use a highlighter, it feels amazing for me when I highlight a goal or task I have done. I’m not certain of the psychological theory behind why, but it feels ‘oh so good’! I stopped ‘crossing out’ many years ago, as I never felt completely satisfied with seeing my goals and tasks ‘crossed out’. I prefer the warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I use my favourite highlighter to colour over the latest goal or task achieved. Give it a try – it’s a fantastic feeling.
As we wind down for another year, it’s a perfect opportunity to put some new healthy habits in place. There’s so much media attention when it comes to feeding our bodies the right foods, in the right portions to ensure we remain healthy and strong, but I’m a big fan of us creating healthy habits in our minds and I am a firm believer that goal setting is one of the most nutritious habits you can consume for your mind.
Set forth and get writing and please do share your stories with us
NB: This article was first published on Mum’s Lounge.
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