Are all goals created alike? Setting goals effectively can help you to reach your destination and develop a sense of competence, where setting them ineffectively can set you up to feel overwhelmed.
Part of my work as a specialised exercise trainer requires me to help people to identify their values and define, refine and specify their goals. Here are some basic tips that I often use in this process.
What is most important to you at this point in your life?
Reminding ourselves of our most important values can help us to set priorities and can make is easier to make decisions about what activities are important when we are pressured by dead-lines, uncomfortable feelings or conflicting demands from others.
Being aware of your values can help you to identify where exercise fits into your life and how important it is.
Values change over time – what is most important to you now might not have been as important in the past, and does not have to continue to be important to you forever!
Setting goals based on our values means that we can be sure that we are working towards outcomes that are important to us.
Effective goals are:
S – Specific
Be clear about what you want to achieve.
M – Measurable
How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
A – Achievable
Breaking your ultimate goal down into achievable steps builds confidence in your ability to meet your targets and helps to prevent feelings of being overwhelmed.
R – Realistic
As well as being achievable, your goal needs to fit in with your life and be consistent with your values, resources and commitments.
T – Time-based
Designating times to review your progress helps you to identify whether or not your process is working, and gives you a chance to re-evaluate your goals and methods.