I DARE SAY Use the D.A.R.E. acronym daily to remind yourself of what you need to do every day to move towards your goals.
Your keys to successful goal setting
Goals, goals, goals. I’m sure many of you are bored of hearing this word bandied about at this time of year. It may be that you’re sceptical about the industry that’s been built up around goal-setting – the latest programme to help you achieve what you want, or a new and revolutionary system. Or perhaps your bookshelves are creaking under the strain of voluminous tomes, all espousing the best way to set and achieve goals?
You may even have tried in the past to follow some system, only to come up short. You decide this goal-setting thing isn’t for you. More fool you. The truth is that goal-setting works. Ask any successful person in any field of endeavour. So why hasn’t it worked for you?
Now this being the time of year when we all look to improve our health and fitness, I’m going to look at setting a goal in this area. My goal here is to identify some factors you may have overlooked when working on goals.
Kicking the can down the road
Setting a goal around your health and fitness often comes without a sense of urgency. Sure, you want to kick smoking, exercise more, cut out the sugar and processed foods. But the immediate consequences of not doing so are what? In most cases they are not life threatening in the immediate term, though we are aware that making these changes is good for our health in the long term.
Therein lies the key. The outcome of not doing what’s needed here won’t have to be dealt with in the short term for most people. That next cigarette may not kill you! That makes it easier to perpetuate destructive behaviours.
To correct this, you need to bring the consequences of the behaviour closer to home. Do some research, get a check up and speak to your doctor, have a scan of your internal organs. Being clear about the future consequences of your actions now will help you to take the necessary steps to change.
Instead of kicking the can down the road and avoiding the issue, you’re bringing the reality of not acting into your awareness. This awareness becomes a powerful negative motivator.
Have you set a goal for completion by the end of 2018? Your target is then 12 months away. This poses a challenge.
A lot will happen in your life over the next 12 months. You will face obstacles that can easily derail your goal. Even thinking about all you must do over the next 12 months might exhaust you. Not a very inspiring way to start.
I recommend that you break your larger goal into bite-sized chunks. Let’s say you want to lose three stone by the end of the year. Working back from 12 months from now, ask what you will need to have achieved in nine months, six months, three months, one month, one week. Then start with your first month. What’s you goal for the first month? Break this month down into four one-week sections. Now list all the actions you need to take in Week 1 to move you towards your one-month goal. Do this at the end of each week for the week ahead.
This lends both a sense of urgency and reality to your goal-setting process. You can easily see that without taking the small, daily actions, your big picture goal is not going to happen.
To achieve anything in life, you must be willing to do what most others won’t. You must take chances and be daring. I use this great acronym to remind myself of what I need to do every day to move toward my goals.
D – Decide upon the actions you need to take.
A – Act daily, aiming to do one to three things every day. These will be mostly very small actions, like making a call, reading up on something etc.
R – Repeat taking action every day.
E – Evaluate your progress monthly and redirect or re-prioritise as necessary.
Paul O’Brien is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise since 2007 and a qualified Life, Health & Nutrition Coach. He is co-owner of Republic of Fitness in Westport. He can be contacted on 086 1674515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.