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by Karen Morley
Goal setting, timescales, action plans - sound scary?
Not at all. Life and Health Coach, Karen Morley, shows you ways to get more out of your life.
Deciding what you want to achieve and working out how to go about it, is one of the easiest and most rewarding things to do and best of all, we have helped ourselves.
How good does that make us feel?
ACHIEVING THE OUTCOMES THAT WE WANT REQUIRES:
- Organisation and planning.
- Determination - the mindset of not giving up even when the going gets tough.
- Application - being prepared to keep doing the necessary tasks - time and time again - that will lead to your desired result.
- Motivation - wanting to succeed enough to stay the course.
By using these four strengths, known for short as ODAM, we will get our required results.
Still sound scary?
Don’t worry, we have broken the process down for you so it is really easy to follow. We will show you how to organise and plan and how to keep motivated - all you have to do is be willing to apply determination and application.
Before we start there are two pieces of invaluable advice I am going to give you:
1. Whatever you want to do in life, break it down into bite size pieces, after all, you couldn’t eat an elephant in one go could you!
Whilst we need to know where we are going, we don’t want to be faced with an overwhelmingly big picture. Life is like a jigsaw puzzle; you can only build it piece by piece and the picture is not complete unless the last piece is in place.
An ancient Taoist philosopher is credited with saying that “A thousand mile journey starts with one step.” And that’s exactly how you will reach your goal, step by step.
“Which step do I begin with?” I hear you cry.
Well, just like that jigsaw puzzle, you have to decide which pieces you begin with. With a jigsaw puzzle I normally start with the corners and then the edges.
With goal setting I start with the step that’s right in front of me - the one that will take me naturally on to the next step in order, then the next and so on.
If you try and do any steps that are out of that natural progression you will come to a grinding halt. Imagine it’s like reaching a river that you need to cross. The first thing that you would need to do is put some sort of bridge across and then you would walk over that bridge placing one foot in front of the other until you reached your desired destination - the other side.
Now imagine that your organisation and planning is your bridge and it is your tool for identifying the first step and all subsequent steps and so reaching the other bank.
2. The second piece of ‘must have’ advice is that you need to write everything down.
Sounds simple, but do you do it?
The human brain interprets and stores information by using the five senses - Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste and Smell.
The strongest of these for many people is sight, so by seeing our goals written down it ensures that our brain takes them seriously and understands their importance.
Now imagine that you not only write the information down, but when you review it you read it out loud as well! Two senses used in one go!
Now, about writing things down... It is important to have paper and a file to keep everything in that is pleasing and inspiring. So, as preparation, spend a little time to find the right paper and folder for you. Personally, I always find yellow does it for me, as it is the colour of optimism and also of intellectual stimulation.
When you are writing down all the information about your goals, it may help to cut and paste pictures that will inspire you and show the end result you are going to achieve. Perhaps a picture of a fit and healthy woman enjoying some sort of exercise, a woman on the beach who is the size and shape you are going to be, colourful photos of the healthy foods you are going to enjoy.
It will also make your file more visual so encouraging your brain to pay attention!
NOW LET’S CONSIDER THE IMPORTANT ‘ORGANISATION AND PLANNING’ STAGE:
Remember, as with all things, one step at a time - so don’t frighten yourself by reading too far ahead.
Just follow the steps listed below, writing everything down as you go.
• Pick the area/s in your life you wish to improve
• Think of the goals for each area. Consider both short term (daily, weekly, monthly) and long term (six monthly, yearly and more) goals.
• Checking you have the right goals.
The following information is a process to ensure you are focused on the right outcome. There is no point setting off on a route only to find part way along that route you are not on exactly the right road.
So, answer the following questions and you will then be sure your end result is just what you want:
• Is the goal a positive one?
That is, are you stating it in the positive? Say what you want, not what you don’t want and not a fluffy goal. For example “I want to be lean, mean and trim weighing ‘x’ kilos and able to run 5km by next January”, not - “I don’t want to be unfit any more”. That is fluffy, said in the negative and not specific. Your goal must be stated clearly and positively.
• Is the goal self-initiated, maintained and within your control?
Ask yourself these questions to check:
a) Am I doing this for myself or someone else? Do I want to get fit for my own sake or is it because I think I will be more attractive to...?
b) Does the outcome rely on me? Is the possible result in my hands or someone else’s? For example, if I wanted to lose weight that would be in my hands because I have the resources to do that. However, if my goal is to make someone attracted to me I could, for example, get a new hair style to work towards it, but whether that attraction actually happened - the desired result - would ultimately be in their hands, not yours.
c) Is the goal realistic? Are your aims practically and physically achievable?
To check your goals are not too vague or that you are totally clear about the outcome ask yourself these questions:
How will I know I am getting the result?
What will I be doing when I get it?
What will I hear, see and feel when I get it?
Why do I want this?
What will I lose or gain if I have it?
What will happen if I get it?
What will happen if I don’t get it?
What won’t happen if I get it?
What won’t happen if I don’t get it?
The answers to these questions should show you if you are on the right track and aiming for the goals you really want.
It’s no good setting yourself a target of wanting to be a body of rippling, hard muscle from top to toe only to achieve it and find you don’t like the shape it makes you. Suddenly, you discover that muscle-bound women are not your idea of attractive and you have done all that hard work to create an image you don’t want!
Assuming that you are now sure of your goals you will be keen to know your next steps.
The next step is yet another question, but one that will clearly define your goal. It will be very good at helping you fine tune what you want, by eliminating what you don’t want. By defining for instance “I want to get fit with the help of a female trainer” would tell you that you would not want to be looking for help from a male.
By defining when you want something helps you identify steps that need to be taken before you can have that something. For instance: “It’s June and I want to be fit, toned and healthy before my holiday in January”.
Now ask yourself this question.
Think carefully and write down your answers:
WHEN, WHERE, HOW AND WITH WHO DO I WANT IT.
Talking of ‘who do I want it with’ it is time to look at who and what you will be needing to help you attain your goals.
What resources will you need and what do you have already.
One of the most wonderful and useful gifts we have is our ability to visualise. To see things or us as we want to be, to act out the result we are heading for. Think back to something you have already achieved, then look at that situation to give you inspiration to achieve this goal. Remember how good you felt when you attained your outcome. Imagine you are a fit, healthy and toned person. See it, believe it, act it and revel in the wonderful feelings it gives you.
Identify these feelings and remember them every morning when you review your day’s commitment.
Act a part and you become it!
PUTTING INTO ACTION
Now comes more of the writing bit. You have identified and written down exactly what your goals are and when you want to achieve them and what and perhaps who you need to help you achieve them.
Now you need to break down the goals into monthly, weekly and daily goals that all add up to your end desired result. Write them down on paper to keep in your file for daily review. To keep you motivated and on track every evening you need to look at the day’s goals that you have met, for example; you’ve done your allotted exercise for the day and eaten healthy food. Having established this, give yourself a tick by the side of where the day’s goal is written and great approval for what you have achieved. Then every morning you need to take out your file, look at what that day’s (and only that day’s) goal is.
Remember that wonderful feeling that you get when you have succeeded and start the day confident and motivated.
At the end of the week you can check your weekly goals to make sure you are on target.
Give yourself an abundance of praise and approval for your achievements and strike through that whole week’s list. This will tell your subconscious you have achieved that week’s desire and to move forward to the next week’s goal.
And onto the next day, week, month - get the picture?
Remember: bite size pieces, with you acknowledging and praising yourself for each step taken.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS!
The only thing stopping you from achieving the outcome you want is you.
Organisation and planning
- Identify area/s where you wish to make changes
- Write down those changes clearly, positively and specifically
- Check that the goals are exactly what you want and workable
- Break down into daily, weekly, monthly goals
- Every evening check you have achieved the day’s desired outcome
- Every morning read that day’s projected goals
- Revise goals weekly
- Revise goals monthly
- Break everything down into bite size pieces - remember about eating that elephant!
- Write everything down clearly and neatly.
- Now get some paper and pen or computer and begin to set your goals.
Today is the first day of your new, improved life - enjoy and be happy!
About the author: Karen Morley has twenty years of coaching and counselling expertise and can be contacted via her website, www.betterlifecoaching.co.uk/index
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