• leeweston9

Autumn Goal Setting, Getting Ahead of The Rest

Now is the time I like to set your goals for next year before its forced upon us in Jan. Take ownership now and spare the frustration of doing this during the festive period.

I find that Autumn is a great time to reflect and think about what you have achieved in the last 10-12 months. You may find yourself doing this regularly or it may not even come up in your thought process. It should be done regularly evaluating your actions and intension. It could also happen spontaneously, thinking about good times or bad times and then wondering how you managed to deal with it or achieve it. Making note of all of these helps to shape our future thoughts, intensions and goals or markers for success. Whether it be in work, quality of life or physical achievements.

So before we even know it we are subconsciously setting goals which guides your actions. Goal setting traditionally is perceived as sitting down and making a goal and sticking to it until the end product is achieved OR more often than not, scrapped and forgotten about if it isn’t achieved or not going to plan.

Two things I feel are neglected is the process in how a goal comes to fruition and also how it is managed and evaluated.

Using these two aspects you can make goals far more effective in your motivation and reaching your targets.

First off don’t sit down one day and go “I am going to set all my goals”. Don’t do it on a whim (because someone else is going to lose 1 stone or running a sub 4 hour marathon). Your intensions and aims should be collected over time from those thoughts of desire, from your evaluation of what is missing from your current state of health, life, work, physical ability. Keep a note of these thoughts over time and then when you have more space and time reframe these thoughts and see if it’s the correct time to address them.

It is then that you can make a goal or conscious effort to achieve the target. Traditionally you would set a SMART goal but I feel its missing aspects. There are many acronyms but the below is a tweaked/individual variation on the theme.

To set a S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal you need to reframe an idea or goal so it has structure and a process so it’s easier to achieve.

E.g. I want to run the “Bristol” 10km in Sept 2021.

Specific – goals are precise and clear. For example, you have stated the distance and event you want to run.

Measurable – goals are quantifiable. You can attain whether the goal has been achieved. For example, if you run that race you have a clear outcome and it’s been achieved.

Attainable – Are you capable of achieving the outcome, is it within your ability. This is very subjective and so it’s good to set easier goals to start with until you know how far you can stretch and push yourself. For example, you are road running 2-3 km every so often and have 12 months until the race in Sept. This I attainable, there is enough time to train and no reason why you couldn’t reach that target. A marathon on the other hand could be more unlikely, however depends on your past experiences.

Relevant – what is its importance to you and what is your motivator? Is it relevant to you or your life? For example, you are currently running atm and you have friend running the race in sept. You want to run together as it will be socially good to train together and you want to improve your health as you aren’t sleeping very well and running will be a good way to destress from work.

Time bound – Setting a date and time to complete the goal so you can measure if you have achieved it. For example, there is a date the race is run and at that point you will know if you have succeeded the overall goal.

Evaluate – am I on track? How is progress going? Evaluation is key, not just at the end point of the goal, in this example in Septembers run, but at every stage. People who don’t evaluate their progress end up failing or quitting goals. This leads into the next part as if it’s not going as expected you may have to reframe your goal.

Reframe – a process of editing your goals to make them more attainable or more challenging. Or all together a different goal. For example, you may have an injury and have to pull out of the Sept race and then postpone for another one in October / November. Or if training is going really well you may add a half marathon in October/November and use the Sept race as a short/mid-term goal leading to the bigger goal. You may find out your friend has pulled out from the race in Sept and that was a large motivator for you and so you are going to go cycling with them instead or play squash etc.

Equally you could be: “I am fed up of feeling so tired”. This is where you have to analyse the possible causes of this. First is sleep. Are you getting enough sleep, If not then why? Are you stressed? If so then what is causing that stress? Have you enough time to unwind? There are many SMARTER goals you could set depending on the analysis of the situation. If it was quality of sleep due to poor pillows it would be “I will go shopping for a pillow on the weekend”. Then the evaluation of this would if your sleep improves. Reframing this goal if the pillow is wrong or not helping it would be changing the pillow or addressing the next factor.

Hopefully you can see from this it’s a process. A mindful process. Its like having a plan, very rarely a plan goes exactly as you expect it to, so why would a goal. So you have to prepare for the stages of the plan and evaluate progress/ change or reframe the plan to achieve the desired outcome.

You can only concentrate on a few things at a time successfully. Don’t try to change the world in a day. Start small, gain success and then move on. Evaluate and reframe goals so once initially set they evolve into and onto the next. It’s a constant merry-go-round of evaluation, plan, action, evaluation. You could say that this is where the short-term goals lead and evolve into the medium and hence into the long term goals.

So take this time as things slow down from a busy summer, as we go into the autumn, with a firm focus leading into the end of the year and into the next.

So don’t set numerous, implosive, unplanned, ill-considered goal as all you are doing is setting yourself up to fail. Take time, make it a process and take action towards small achievements.

Good luck and be mindful in the process.

#goalsetting #processnottheoutcome

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