Setting and achieving goals is an important aspect of self-growth as it allows individuals to work towards something they want to achieve. Goals give individuals a sense of purpose and direction in life, and help them to stay focused, motivated and on track. Setting goals allows individuals to achieve more than they thought possible. However, setting goals is only the first step, achieving them is where the real work lies.
Setting SMART Goals
You may have heard of the concept of SMART goals before. Both Peter Drucker of the 1950’s and George Doran of the 1980s have been credited with developing the SMART model.
A SMART goal is a goal that is:
Specific goals are clear, concise and well-defined, making it easier to understand what needs to be done to achieve them.
Measurable goals have a numerical value that can be tracked and evaluated, this allows for progress to be monitored and for adjustments to be made if necessary.
Attainable goals are realistic and achievable, setting goals that are too difficult can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation.
Relevant goals are important and align with an individual’s values and overall life purpose, this ensures that the goal is worthwhile and has personal significance.
Finally, time-bound goals have a deadline and a sense of urgency, this allows for the individual to stay motivated and on track towards achieving the goal.
Creating a Plan of Action
One of the most important aspects of setting and achieving goals is creating a plan of action. This involves breaking down the goal into smaller, more manageable steps. This makes the goal less overwhelming and easier to achieve.
The plan of action should also include a timeline and deadlines, this helps to keep the individual on track and motivated.
It is also important to be realistic when setting goals. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and a lack of motivation. It is important to consider one’s current resources, skills, and limitations when setting goals.
It is also important to be flexible, as life can be unpredictable, and goals may need to be adjusted accordingly.
Another important aspect of setting and achieving goals is to be accountable. This involves sharing one’s goals with others and seeking support and encouragement. This can be done by sharing goals with friends and family, or by joining a support group or accountability group.
Being accountable can help to keep the individual motivated and on track towards achieving the goal.
One of the most common reasons why individuals fail to achieve their goals is because they lack motivation. Setting and achieving goals requires commitment and dedication, and it can be easy to give up when faced with obstacles or setbacks.
It is important to find ways to stay motivated, this can be done by reminding oneself of the reasons why the goal is important, and by visualizing the end result.
It’s also important to celebrate small victories along the way, this can help to maintain motivation and momentum. So when you achieve something, no matter how small, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back.
Setting and achieving goals is an important aspect of self-growth. It allows individuals to work towards something they want to achieve and gives them a sense of purpose and direction in life.
Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals, known as SMART goals, as we’ve just learned, is important for successful goal achievement. Creating a plan of action, being realistic, being accountable, and staying motivated are all key aspects of achieving goals.
Achieving goals requires commitment and dedication, but by following these steps, individuals can increase their chances of success.
Why Can’t I Bring Myself to Do What I Know I Be Should Doing?
We’ve all been in a situation where we know what we need to do… but instead of doing it, we hesitate… we procrastinate… or we find something else irrelevant to do. We’ll do anything EXCEPT the work.
But why is this so?
After all, we know it’s in our best interest to do the important tasks. Yet, we get in our way and avoid doing what we must.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you know you need to exercise. But every fiber in your body is telling you to skip the workout… and you give in, only to feel guilty later that you failed yourself.
There are several reasons why this contradiction happens in your mind and is executed in your life. It looks like it’s self-sabotage or laziness, but in reality, it’s not entirely your fault.
All change is met with resistance
The truth is that your actions in the past have gotten you to where you are today. For you to end up somewhere different (which is your goals), you’ll need to do different things and become a different person.
For example, someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle will need to become active if they want a lean body.
A man/woman who wants to earn more money will need to upgrade his/her skills and do more. That’s the price to pay to achieve one’s goals.
Here’s the problem – we’re all creatures of habit. When you need to change your habits, your mind and body will resist because the new normal is foreign to you.
Exercising and learning new skills requires physical and mental effort. This will be a struggle for someone not used to the new habits and demands required of them.
Fear of pain or discomfort
In order to progress, you MUST step outside your comfort zone. Any skill or productive work such as writing or learning the piano or resistance training will require ‘sweat equity’.
For people who lead a relaxed and hedonistic lifestyle where the focus is on pleasure, this extra work/effort will be anathema to them. They fear the discomfort.
The thought of physical exertion at the gym scares them. Spending hours writing content is a tiresome chore because of the mental effort needed.
Work brews a strong internal resistance within them because they crave dopamine from pleasurable activities.
The key to overcoming this problem will be to reduce your pleasure-causing activities such as social media, alcohol consumption, bingeing on Netflix, etc. and slowly introduce more work into your lifestyle.
Over time, you’ll grow to enjoy the work and it’ll be easier to get through because you’re not fighting yourself.
Trying to do too much
Trying to inculcate too many new habits at the same time can be overwhelming and take a toll on you. Since every new habit requires discipline and willpower, trying to do too much will deplete your energy.
It’s best to focus on 1-2 habits for about 4 weeks, and once you’re used to them, you can try mastering a new habit or two. By taking the slower approach, you’ll see faster results.
Most people try to overhaul their lives all at once. This puts a strain on them and they start avoiding the activities associated with their new habits. Your willpower and energy every single day is finite. So use your energy wisely and focus your efforts on fewer tasks, but make them count.
Doing the wrong thing at the wrong time may make the process harder than it has to be.
For example, if you’ve scheduled your gym session at 7pm after your day at work, you may find yourself too exhausted to train because your work day has drained you.
If this is the situation, you’re better off waking up an hour earlier and exercising. Get it over and done with so you don’t need to constantly dread it throughout the day.
You want to make it as easy as possible to stay on track with your new habits. Adjust your environment and schedule so you can cope better.
Now that you know why you’re fighting yourself, you can plan a more gradual approach to achieve your goals. Aim to make 1% improvement each day.
Some people are so resistant to certain activities that all they’ll manage to do in the beginning is just 5 minutes of the activity. It could be exercise, studying, writing, practicing… whatever. If all you can bring yourself to do is 5 minutes, then give yourself that 5 minutes.
Aim to increase your activity duration by a minute each day. In 2 months, you’ll easily be able to get through an hour of work.
It may seem slow… but by the 30th day, the habit will be slightly ingrained in you and you may find that you have no problem getting started and sticking to the activity for an hour or so. Everything becomes easier when the activity becomes habitual.
Aim to do a little every day, and a little more with each passing day. That’s the key to doing what you need to do without hesitation.
Self-care is the practice of taking care of one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is an essential aspect of maintaining overall health and well-being and is critical for achieving balance and harmony in one’s life.
Self-care is often neglected so it is important for us to understand the importance of self-care and arm ourselves with the knowledge and awareness around this important topic.
The Importance of Self-Care
Often overlooked, self-care is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Without a proper self-care regimen, we can find ourselves off-balance and generally unwell.
Self-care is also critical in helping to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase our energy levels. It can also help to boost self-esteem and self-confidence, which can lead to a more successful and fulfilling life.
The Key Elements of Self-Care
The key elements of self-care include physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Physical self-care involves taking care of one’s physical health, such as by eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Mental self-care involves paying attention to one’s mental state and managing stress, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking support when needed.
While emotional also has some crossover with mental self-care, it focuses more on taking care of one’s emotional well-being, such as by expressing emotions, practicing self-compassion, and setting boundaries.
Strategies for Effective Self-Care
If self-care is lacking, actually taking the time to put more effort into self-care can seem like a daunting task. The more you neglect yourself, the deeper the vicious cycle can become.
Here are some strategies for effective self-care:
- Make self-care a priority. Schedule time for self-care activities and make them a regular part of your routine.
- Practice a variety of self-care activities. This can include physical activities such as exercise, yoga, or meditation, as well as mental and emotional activities such as journaling, reading, or listening to music. Find one you like and continue it until you feel the need to change.
- Be mindful of your self-care needs and listen to your body. Be aware of your physical, mental, and emotional needs, and take steps to address them. Don’t ignore how you feel, but also don’t be quick to make judgement. Just be present and listen to what your body is telling you.
- Seek support when needed: Being able to ask for help is often overlooked by many, but it is so important for self-care. You can talk to friends, family, or a therapist, or even join a support group. You are not alone.
- Practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself: Treat yourself with the same kindness, care, and understanding that you would offer to a friend. We are often too harsh on ourselves but being that way does not help our self-care mission.
- Set realistic self-care goals and track progress over time: You won’t change overnight but with consistent, small changes, you can make great leaps forward. You just need to be patient on your self-care journey.
- Learn to say no: We often take on too much in our lives. Be at peace with saying no and try not to take on additional commitments. Take more time for yourself when you need it.
- Be aware of your own limitations: This is similar to having the ability to say no. Set yourself some boundaries and limitations and make a promise not to cross them. This will help you lead a happier existence, and your limitations can always be adjusted if needed.
- Stay informed about self-care techniques: Read blogs, subscribe to mailing lists, listen to podcasts, and do whatever you need to stay on top of ways to carry out self-care. It can be exciting and fulfilling to try new ways of taking care of yourself.
- Celebrate small wins: Make sure you stop and celebrate successes along the way, no matter how small. Reward yourself for reaching self-care goals.
One of the most important things with self-care is to remember it should be a life-long practice. Self-care requires consistent effort, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming.
Finding a balance that works for you and making self-care a priority can help you to improve your overall health and well-being, reduce stress and anxiety, and achieve balance and harmony in your life.