If you’re one of the many people who struggle to achieve their goals, it might be that your habits are getting in the way of your will! So what can you do about it? Professor Richard Wiseman’s research suggests these ten tips make goal-setting easy…
Plan it: A lot of goals are set just because it’s New Year. Take a bit of time to give life-changes the thought they deserve! What you really want to change, do or improve? Then start making your plan!
One goal: Many people set themselves a number of big, vague goals. Start by setting one goal that addresses one little habit… So rather than say “I’ll quit smoking”, you could start by saying “I’m giving up the cigarette that I have when I wake up”. Here are some other examples:
Big & vague: “Eat more healthily”
Big & vague: “Exercise more”
Big & vague: “Do more for the community”
Little habit: “Replace my Wispa with a banana!”
Little habit: “Start walking up stairs/escalators”
Little habit: “Pick up the litter down my road”
Break it down: Ever hear the old story about a man who had to eat an elephant? Asked how he’d do it, he said simply: “One bite at a time!” Seems reasonable to us… Break bigger goals into a series of steps.
Be SMART: Goals are also more likely to happen when you make them Specific, Measurable, Action Orientated, Results Driven & Time Based. So instead of “Get fit”, you might say: “By the end of the month, have a check-up & act on the advice so that my fitness levels improve.” See the difference?
Do the first bit right away! Often, it’s not that people give up on goals so much as that people don’t really start on them! Whatever the goal, begin it immediately. In our examples, you could buy a week’s worth of bananas, start walking up escalators that day & order a litter grabber online!
Little cheers: Almost everyone celebrates when they doing something big! Almost no one celebrates when they doing something little… Make sure your plan includes small celebrations, that don’t contradict the goal, when you start your little steps as well; it’s more motivating to the brain!
Tell your friends: Telling your friends & family what you’re doing can give you an extra kick in the pants if you have a wobble… And extra support when you’re doing well! Just let everyone know…
Visible progress: Pin up your plan, create a desktop reminder or fill in a diary of progress. It keeps the goal fresh in your mind and helps reinforce the new habit. You can also use a journal to imagine how much better things will be when you achieve the goal: jot down how things might look, feel and sound.
Carry on: It’s quite common to have a bit of a wobble… Accept that and treat it not as a final failure but as a temporary setback – it’s not a reason to give up altogether!