New Year Resolutions: Setting Goals


When better to start than January to set goals and plan for the year ahead …

What exactly is a goal?

Goals are outcomes or things we want to achieve or create in our lives. They are set towards what we want in life or away from what we don’t want. With goals we have to take action and there are steps required in order to achieve them. Goals enable us to go on a journey from where we are now, to where we want to be. They give direction to our lives and reasons for the actions we take.

Why do we have goals?

Quite simply, if we don’t have goals, we are not moving forwards or achieving our fullest potential in life. While we don’t necessarily need to know how we are going to achieve them, we do need to know exactly what we want, why we want it and when we want it for them to be effective. Most of us will have set goals at some point in life but it is usually hit and miss as to whether or not we achieve them. The key is setting them and consistently achieving them, thereby creating more of the things we want in our lives.

Why is it important to focus on what we want?

The unconscious mind gives us what we focus on most, so it is important to set positive, supportive goals and to focus on what we want, not what we don’t want. If I said to you don’t think of a blue tree, it is impossible not to think of one, before you decide that you shouldn’t. So if you wanted to stop doing something like smoking or biting your nails and you held the following statements in mind – don’t smoke, don’t bite my nails, I don’t want

to be fat – the unconscious mind will be paying attention to these very things, known as ‘away from’ goals. Ironically, it is these things that we end up attracting to us.

How do we set goals?

To increase your potential for achieving goals consistently, easily and effortlessly, adopt

the SMART formula:

1. Specific:

When setting goals you cannot be too specific or too detailed. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to achieve it and make it happen. Exactly what is it you want? Where, when, how and with whom do you want to achieve this?

2. Measurable:

Goals need to be measurable, otherwise how will you know you have achieved it? Ask yourself the following questions: What has to happen for you to know you have succeeded in achieving your goal? How will you know you are on track or on target? Where are you now with respect to the goal? How are you going to measure your success? What would you see, hear, feel, notice in order to know you have achieved it? How will you know how

far away or how close you are to achieving it?

3. Meaningful:

Goals have to be meaningful to you, not someone else. In other words, is it your goal? People often set goals that aren’t really what they want but rather what they think they should achieve or what other people want them to achieve. If the goal you are working on is yours, you will be naturally motivated into taking action towards achieving that goal.

When you talk about it, you should light up physically and become animated about it.

4. Achievable:

Ask yourself if you removed all constraints, is this goal possible? Can you actually achieve it? If you were to set a goal to be an under 30s golf champion and you were aged 40, this wouldn’t be within the realms of possibility. However, if you worked towards a goal of being an under 50s champion, this would be achievable. Always act as if you have already achieved it. To do this, express the goal in the present tense. This is because

goals stated in the future tense are just that, always in the future.

5. Realistic and Responsible:

Goals need to be realistic to you personally, in line with your values and beliefs. By this, it needs to be your own realistic, not someone else’s. People judge based on their own limiting beliefs, disappointments, and past experiences. But nothing and no one apart from you can decide whether or not your goals are achievable or realistic. If your goal isn’t realistic, redefine it or change your beliefs. Goals also need to be responsible and ecological in terms of yourself, others and the planet in general. If achieving a goal would have a negative impact in any of these three areas then things will invariably stand in your way of achieving it.

6. Timed:

When setting goals, give an accurate time for when you want to achieve something by and state when you want it to start. Time goals precisely, giving a day of the week, date, year, specifying maybe even hours or minutes if appropriate. By stating the achievement of a goal for ‘next’ week/month/year, the goal will remain out there in the future, unachieved.

Get started right away:

Take 100% responsibility for getting started, keeping working towards it and make it happen. Only you can do it. No one can achieve goals for you, have the perfect relationship for you, earn money for you, change career for you, lose weight for you ... They are your goals and only you can accomplish them. Goals should be extended into all areas of life in order to achieve life balance. For more help setting goals and to learn about the best methods for achieving goals, see our website for more details or arrange an appointment with Claire Pickering from Personal Heights Coaching.

Article by Claire Pickering 

Claire Pickering

Claire Pickering is an accredited life coach, meditation teacher, NLP master coach and master practitioner of NLP, Time Line Therapy® and hypnosis, supporting people in taking action so they can make positive changes in their lives and reach their own personal heights. Claire is also a published author and co-developer of the award-winning My Guide series of self-help, wellness and how-to books, designed to improve lives. Read more here

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