setting personal goals

Do you find it difficult to reach your personal goals?

Do you make heartfelt promises to yourself that you somehow don’t manage to keep?

When you set personal goals, but struggle to maintain the behaviour needed to meet them, you might easily start feeling stuck and hopeless.

The good news is that there’s no need to despair!

It takes a positive internal and external environment to set yourself up for success –which is a lot easier to create than you think.

Here are 3 powerful steps you can follow to help you on your journey to becoming your Best Self.

1. Create a clear vision

You might not have a crystal ball, but unless you have a clear idea of where you’re going (or at least where you want to go), how will you get there?

Start by visualising a picture of yourself having already achieved your goal. What do you look like? How do you feel? Who around you will notice the change? How are behaving? What will you do now that you have reached your target?

Here’s an example:

Two ordinary people want to run a marathon.

One pictures herself in at the peak of her fitness, storming victorious through the finish line.

The other worries about losing and imagines himself humiliated as he trails in last, or worse, not even finishing the race.

Who do you think is more likely to wake up at 5am, come rain or shine, to run?

If you want to start an exercise program, picture yourself in your mind as stronger, fitter, more muscular. See this powerful version of yourself happily lacing up your sneakers, ready to hit the gym. Visualise yourself loving every minute of your workout. Think about how you’d feel as this version of you! Notice how easily you run up the stairs instead of taking the lift; how much energy you have to play with your kids.

If your personal goal is to quit smoking, imagine yourself as a happy, free, and powerful non-smoker. See that smile on your face as you walk into the airport and browse duty-free, taking your time, maybe treating yourself. Visualise yourself passing that stinking smoking lounge and the pity you feel for the poor, trapped souls inside it. Smell your clean hair, feel the relaxation in your chest and throat. Imagine how liberated you feel.

When you set a personal goal, whether it’s to lose weight, give up sugar, stop shouting at your kids, or whatever it is that you want less of in your life, you’re telling yourself is that you have give up something, or lose something. Can you see how you’re starting to form a negative picture of yourself in your mind? A visualisation of yourself suffering?

A negative picture of yourself sets you up for failure before you’ve even started. A tangible, vivid, exciting picture of yourself in your mind will motivate and inspire your success. 

2. Set realistic, positive goals

Now that you have your vivid vision strongly fixed in your mind, set small, meaningful, and realistic steps to get from here to there. Set yourself up for many wins by making each step enjoyable!

If you want to start some kind of exercise program, your first step towards achieving your vision might be to buy some really good sneakers and plan a simple, fun, training structure. What would be easy and attainable for you? Is it going to the gym or working out at home? Would working out with an exercise buddy help? How about a reward system?

If you want to quit smoking, your first step towards your vision might be to read up on how other people quit easily and successfully. You might book a few hypnosis sessions. You might read Allen Carr’s ‘Easy Way to Stop Smoking’.

Whatever steps you take on your journey towards becoming a non-smoker (or reaching any other goal you set), make them positive and achievable. If you see the task as too big from the get-go, you will be limiting your chances of success.

 3. Helpful self-talk

You can choose the language you use in your mind and the language you use when you talk to and about yourself. Take responsibility for what you say to yourself. You might not always be aware of this, but you can control your self-talk.

In clinical practice, I often hear my clients use shockingly cruel language to describe themselves. In most cases, they would never dream of speaking to another person like that. Or accept someone else speaking to them like that. Unkindness to yourself is not helpful and can be extremely detrimental.

Practice being kind to yourself instead. Use gentle, helpful language when you talk to and about yourself. As a starting point, affirmations can be useful. Saying a positive, affirmative statement to yourself such as: “You’ve got this” or “1 step at a time” will refocus your attention and energy toward accomplishing your goal.

Life is short. You deserve your own love, kindness, care, and encouragement. Use these 3 powerful strategies to set you up for achieving your personal goals and enjoy yourself on the way.

If you’d like some help defining your goals or creating the small, achievable steps towards reaching them, contact me to schedule an appointment.

I’d love to talk to you and support you on your journey to becoming your best self.