Guide to Setting Smart Goals

Taking action provides us with a sense of personal power. When we don’t like something, are unhappy, or want more positive qualities in our life, we must make a conscious choice for it to come about. Rather than giving in, or resigning ourselves to more of the same, we can get stuck in and make an effort to be proactive.

Do keep in mind however, that especially when it comes to situations of recovering health, that in some cases, the action may be less about doing and more about making a decision to accept a current situation and make the best of things, until more activity and ability to move forward can be taken. Acceptance in general can be deceiving, we may at first think that it is giving into weakness, or even apathy, yet it’s often the first stage to true transformation; and this stage cannot be rushed. Things don’t end at acceptance, it’s just an essential step for any type of new birth in life.

Once you have accepted your current reality as it is, including all “perceived” and real limitations, then you are ready to see what is truly possible. Often we don’t know what we are completely capable of, until we try. This is especially true when treading new horizons in our world. Be prepared for all manner of events, as you step into a slight unknown.

A goal comes about once the desire for change is big enough for you to devise a plan or create an aim to make a new or different step. This visionary stage is the first step. Often, if the feeling for something more positive in your life is strong enough, then you will have the fuel to get you through each stages of achieving your goal.

There are certain highly regarded qualities which are normally at the heart of our desire, which lie behind our goal. We don’t always recognise these at first, but it can help to look deeply into our bubbling passion, because once we understand these universal qualities, we can attract greater assistance from the universal flow of our life. In a nutshell, it brings us into a place of deeper manifestation.

Freedom, love and connection, abundance, joy, peace, beauty, security, renewal, and liberation are some of the most common attributes which may lie at the core of your passion. If you consider what succeeding in your goal will mean to your life, then I imagine, one of these qualities pops up for you.

Once you have really felt into how wonderful it would be for you to do this thing, and you have envisioned the picture in your mind of what it may look like, (which is what your imaginary and intuitive functions are for), next it’s time to use your logical mind to plan out the steps you need to take in the real world to bring it to fruition. Here comes the grounding aspect of your plan. This should also involve strategies for negotiating obstacles or setbacks, which are generally inevitable.

Sometimes we know what we want to change, but we don’t yet know how to make it happen. For example, you may want more freedom and independence in your life but you aren’t sure how to do this. This area was really important for me when I became unwell, because I was dependent on car rides to go further afield. I had always been a walker, so had no need for learning to drive, this became difficult when I was too rough to walk far, and then even when I could get out more regularly, I couldn’t get further afield. I wanted a new lease of life to meet my new experience.

Throughout my journey over the last few years, independence and mobility has been a central work in progress. I created a map of all the things making me feel bad a couple of years ago, and since then, I have been taking steady action to alleviate or change the things that were causing me unhappiness or stress. The desire for the old freedom I had, has fueled me to take many varying steps to make my life more expansive. I had to physically condition my body after being wheelchair bound, and work out my own exercise rebuilding programme. I also had to work on the area of finances to create my own financial stability to fund my vision. I worked out bus routes which were sustainable, even on bad days at the outset. I had to face more than a few fears, but now it’s safe to say, I have achieved my goal of independence, and am still working on it increasingly. I have a super-duper modern electric scooter and am learning to drive with joy. Furthermore I can go for long walks.

From my example, you can see how some goals contain many parts, independence is a big one, especially because I was quite far from my vision initially, and it’s taken a lot of work to create it, especially with some occasional, remaining physical constricts.

Once you have met a goal or worked on one area of your life which needs attention, if there are other places that require change or improvement, you can then move onto these. Life is like juggling plates and I find it is a regular practice of moving between the routines and taking account of inner guidance. Having a type of balance or harmony often comes from having an equal spread of focus on our work, relationships, hobbies, playtime, finances, self-growth time, health and so on. Making your life the right place for you is what counts!

smarter-goalsEveryone has slightly differing words for their smart goals but I tend to consider these aspects when making a new goal:

  • S  = Specfic / Sustainable
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Time-bound

To set you goal it’s wise to consider the above things. It’s important to have an aim that’s actually achievable, something that isn’t impossible, it needs to be realistic, because otherwise you will set yourself up for a fall. If you have trouble knowing how realistic it is, then ask around with friends and family. It may help you get perspective, but beware, even their judgement of what is possible may be biased. Have caution, because confidence plays a roll here, your goal may well seem impossible, if you have a lot of fear lurking, sometimes things are unrealistic for sure, but other times, they are attainable and we are required to push a little, or take a leap of faith in order to get there. If your goal is a little out of reach, then try making it smaller or splitting it into many stages.

You’ll want to consider how sustainable your goal is. If you want to start a new exercise or activity, like swimming or cycling, how much is too much? Starting at 10 minutes a week and extending your riding up to one hour each week over time may be sustainable for you. If you got on a bike or went to the swimming pool for a couple of hours initially, or a few times a week at the start, this would be unsustainable, and it may lead to a fail or setback, which would knock your overall confidence in adding this new activity to your life.

Some goals are quicker and easier to complete, some are bigger and take more time to achieve. You will want to ask yourself questions like: How will I know when my goal is complete? What resources do I need? Can I keep doing it regularly? This is where measuring becomes useful. Make sure your passion fuels your goal, if your heart isn’t in it, and you are doing it either for someone else, or because you think you should, it won’t be easy to keep it up over time. Look out for tendencies to give up the goal once you have completed it. Of course some goals are naturally accomplished and end, but a lot of them just keep going, they just change shape and morph into new goal avenues. This really is a model for continued success. There should be a certain momentum about your goal once you have got past the beginning stages, it should begin to become effortless and run itself.

If you want to create a self-employed business for example, then it will help to break it into many stages and set yourself mini targets. You may need to find some training, if so where is the money coming from? Do you need to take a job on the side or can you create funds from somewhere else? How many clients do you want to achieve a week? Or how many items do you expect to sell? What steps do you need to take to advertise?

If you want to loose weight, you will need to figure out how you can do this. The normal routes are diet and exercise. So setting yourself a healthy change with your food would be a start. You may be considering some food exclusions, or lowering carbs, eating smaller meals or not eating late. However, is this sustainable for you long term? Maybe you need to give yourself a treat once a week, a couple of squares of dark chocolate on the weekend or healthy fruit bars for snacks. Only you can know what is sustainable for you. This is where being honest with yourself and being realistic is an important part of the step because it creates more likelihood of overall continued success.

The road isn’t always generic or obvious. Sometimes when we start on a journey toward a goal, we may find ourselves in altogether different territory. Continuing on with the example with weight loss,  you may find you are doing all of the food and exercise work but you still don’t lose weight. Hormonal imbalances are common in ME/CFS and for a lot of us in general at a certain stage of life. You may find this may be happening, which would lead you to other areas to fulfill your goal. Blood tests and investigations may be needed to ascertain and fix any imbalances behind your non shifting weight.

The key is not to give up if things don’t go to plan or you find yourself on a windy journey to meet your goal. That’s part of life. You have to have a determined head, and remain resilient. Each twist and turn is a test of your passion to follow through to the end.

network-marketing-obstaclesObstacles are part of the route, so don’t worry about difficulties, in fact it’s better to anticipate them. Equally some of our obstacles may arrive in the form of internal resistance. We change when we grow and succeed, and often there can be sabotaging patterns lurking in our psyche, so if you find yourself at the mercy of some barrier to greater good, don’t worry, it is just a sign you are moving past old identities and images of yourself. Don’t let these defences stop you, self-protection is sometimes outdated. Keep stepping forward to become the person you know you are deep down.

It is helpful to put a time limit on your goal so you know when it will be accomplished by and so that you can measure when you have achieved it. After all, how can you give yourself a reward if you don’t mark the final stage of your success. Most adults just keep on going without patting themselves on the back, this is a shame, because we need time to say well done to ourselves and to sit in the space of triumph. Life is about taking time to smell the roses, not just in the continual act of productivity. We give our pets and children treats and compliments, but do we provide our own inner children with a big hug and some words of praise? This act builds a good ritual for positive self-coaching.

If you don’t quite meet your time structure, then just re-set your schedule and measure any adjustments to your goal progress so far. Try not to criticize yourself or speak badly to yourself internally, this inner critic input will just take you further away from your success.

Enjoy the road to goal attainment and allow yourself to feel the beautiful transformation in your life as you move along your path. You are the only one that can be you. Don’t be afraid to try but don’t push yourself hard. Be loving and take a sensible pace.

Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts, goal ideas, setback stories and triumphs…

 

 

 

 

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