Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

The power of goals

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, the power of goals can never be underestimated. Having goals in place gives us a sense of purpose and can help to keep direction in our life. What are you doing today that is bringing you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?

Make goals as specific as possible

The more specific a goal is, the more likely you are to achieve it. Think clearly about what it is that you want. Stating that you want to be happier or thinner is far too vague. How much weight do you want to lose? State this goal in the SMART format:

S = Specific         I want to lose 3 kilograms/4 pounds

M= Measurable   I will be able to weigh myself to see how much I have lost ( or not).

A = Achievable  I will be able to devote time to creating a good healthy eating plan

R = Realistic    It’s no good expecting to lose too much weight in a few days.

T = Time bound   I want to lose this weight within the next 4 weeks

The above is a good example of how to set out a goal.

Stay focused

Keep your goals constantly in the back of your mind and work towards them daily. Use your goals to help you stay on track and move forward towards the things that mean something to you. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, just a small step day by day. All of these small steps will help you to make huge progress over time.

Goals can change

My goals have been reduced to a more basic level lately, and that’s okay. Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to adapt our goals. My health hasn’t been great lately and I have been in hospital. My usual goals such as working smarter, planning holidays, being more sociable etc have had to take a back seat. My main goal at the moment is to increase my lung function to what it was when I was well.

I have a way to go, but all my energy is going into that at the moment. It helps to be flexible and adaptable in life and that goes for goals too.

Identify your values

Set goals in line with your values – a few examples of values: family, love, health, adventure, freedom…know the difference between what you want and what you like. They can be different. What you think you want may not actually make you happy. You may feel that your in-laws must include you more in things but actually, if they did perhaps you wouldn’t even like it? Think about this.

There is very little use in working all hours every day when your real value is freedom and adventure. Sure, money can allow you to have more freedom and adventure but be aware of this and see money as a means to an end. Don’t allow earning money to become an obsession and overtake your real true values (I see this happen all the time in my work as a psychologist).

When you structure your life by setting yourself goals, you automatically include purpose in your life. Research has shown that purpose in life is a strong predictor of happiness in life. It’s a good idea to have short term and long terms goals to work towards and to maintain regular assessments of your progress.

Mandy X