Using Goal Setting for Stress Relief

What are goals and what does goal setting mean?

Having a goal means having an aim or intention to do or achieve something that is important to you. We all have things we would like to achieve or to change in our lives. How many times have you created New Year’s Resolutions to change things you are not happy with. And how many times have those resolutions gone out the window within a week or, if you really tried hard, a month?

There are lots of reasons why we don’t achieve what we want. Some of them are things we have no control over, such as other people’s behavior, the weather, the economy, etc. However, we can influence a lot of the other reasons if we go about it the right way.

Setting yourself a clear goal is essential in creating change for yourself. Then putting the necessary factors in place to help yourself will increase your chances of succeeding 100%.

Follow these steps for effective goal setting

Create a clear, vibrant vision of where you want to get to. If you want to be slimmer, spend time visualizing a slimmer you, create a storyboard containing pictures and words that inspire your goal – for instance, pictures of you when you were slimmer, people who look like you would like to look, foods that will help you, words in big letters that lead you towards your goal. If you want to move house, choose pictures of the type of house you would like to live in, the garden you want to have, the area where you want to live, etc. Once you are clear about what you want then you can sit down to create your goal. When you write your goals make sure that:

- you write them down
- you use language that is positive and in the present
- you are specific

Here are some examples:

- I am losing two stone
- I am finding the perfect house for me and my family
- I am in my new job as a ……

The next part of goal setting is to write down the steps needed to achieve your goal. What you need to do, who you need to speak to, where you need to go. Be clear and specific. Set yourself dates for when you will start working on your goal and when you intend to achieve each step. Include regular dates for reviewing your progress and making sure you are on track.

Put together a timetable for when, and how much time you are going to spend on this goal.

Decide whether you have all the skills you need to achieve this goal. If not, think about whose help you may need.

If you think you will need support in order to achieve your goal, set yourself up with a goal partner – someone who is also trying to achieve a goal and agree a time when you can get together each week to discuss your progress and support each other in any way you can. Even if you think you won't need this kind of support, it's great to have anyway, so give it some serious thought!

An essential step in goal setting is to be aware of things that might get in the way of your goal. If your goal is to lose weight and you have failed in the past – think about what things made it difficult. Maybe flopping in front of the TV after work, or having a little snack before bed. Put strategies in place to change these behaviors, such as going for a run as soon as you get home and having a bath before you go to bed.

Other helpful tips are:

- to have a few pictures or phrases pinned up around the house, either positive ones to motivate you, or negative ones which show what will happen if you don’t achieve your goal. Or some of each. Think about what will help you the most.

- write or type your goals on a piece of card, using a beautiful script, so that it looks really attractive and make sure you read it first thing in the morning and just before you go to sleep. That way you keep your goal in the forefront of your mind when your mind is most receptive, just after you wake and just before sleeping.

- include details of how your life will look when you have achieved your goal. For instance, I will enjoy looking at myself in the mirror. I will weigh 9 stone and wear size 12 clothes, I will be living in a beautiful home (describe it in detail).

Following the above tips for goal setting will help you to create goals that are realistic and achievable. They will also greatly increase your ability to make lasting change in your life.

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