A Road Map
Wherever you go in life, you need a direction. Maybe you are trying to recover from an illness or injury, have recently retired, or are just looking to change things up a bit, setting goals is a great place to start. Start the goal setting process by:
- Locating specifically where you want to be in the long term
- Determining how many steps you’ll need to take along the way (short term)
- Breaking that down even further and looking at the distance between those steps (daily goal)
- Looking at multiple pathways to reach the end goal and
- Choosing to enjoy the journey
Questions relating to a destination can be asked by anybody, young or old. Where will I be at the end of my journey? What am I going to do physically and mentally in order to get there? What skills and tools do I need in order to reach my destination? Answering these questions creates a straight forward plan and equips you with the resources to execute it.
How Does Goal Setting Help You?
Good goal setting gives you a long-term vision with short-term motivation. Goals provide you with direction, feedback, and a daily purpose.
How Far Ahead Should You Look?
Effective goal setting entails setting long-term and short-term goals; these goals will identify where you are going and how you are going to get there.
Long-term goals traditionally look one or more years into the future; think about the road trip analogy. This goal parallels your final destination. You can create a long-term goal by asking yourself “Where do I want to be physically/financially/socially at the end of this year? What about in 3 years?” Your answer to this question may be “I want to have improved my mobility by the end of this year”. But, don’t forget that even long term goals need to be specific. A more appropriate answer might be “I want to be able to fully raise my arms above my head by the end of this year” or “I want to be able to touch my toes one year from today”. It is never too late to set a long-term goal and the best way to reach these goals for the future is to set goals for the present. That is where short-term goals come in.
In order to make a long-term goal seem less daunting, we need to set short-term goals. Short-term goals are made when you are looking into the near future, usually under one year and more specifically between two weeks and one month. Short-term goals serve as stepping-stones to achieve you long-term goal(s). These types of goals provide you with ways monitor your success in reaching those long-term goals. A good example of a short-term goal is “By the end of this month I want to be able to touch my toes while sitting down”. This goal has a clear end date and specific criteria making it clear and attainable.
While short-term goals may feel more possible than long-term goals, we sometimes still struggle to maintain focus and motivation. For this reason it is also important to set daily goals. Daily goals, as the name suggests, are to be set every day. Effective daily goals will help keep your future vision current. Daily goals can be set for both physical development and for psychological skill development. For example, your physical daily goal to reach your short-term goal of touching your toes while sitting down, might be to just stretch and get your body loose before you even try to touch your toes. You psychological goal could be to not think the phrase “I can’t do that” and to stay more positive.
Effective goal setting must involve not just a road map but a strategy to keep the goals “real” and consistent.
The next step is to actually act on these daily, short-term, and long-term goals. Request the help of family and friends to establish a plan or to put the goal into motion. Once a goal setting “map” had been established, the next critical piece is to keep yourself accountable to these goals. Doing this is largely a matter of creativity and finding a means of accountability that will motivate you to stay with it. A few good ways to keep your goals at the forefront are:
- Complete weekly goal setting forms
- Develop a goal chart
- Write goals on visible items such as white boards, planners, even napkins!
- Verbalize goals to friends and family
Evaluate Your Goals
Effective goal setting requires you to regularly evaluate the progress towards your goal(s). Note successes along the way and modify goals if necessary.
Goals provide direction, give feedback on progress, and motivate. To ensure they serve this purpose, goals must also be flexible. It is necessary to evaluate them at several points during throughout the process. Set specific dates to check if you are on track to reaching you goal within your specified time period and make changes if needed.
REMEMBER: Goals must be S.M.A.R.T.
Specific– If it is not specific you can’t see the target, and therefore can’t aim at it.
Measurable– If it is not measurable you won’t know when you get there.
Attainable – If the goal is too far out of reach, it can actually be quite destructive. For example, if you can’t even bend over at all setting the goal to touch your toes might be too far-fetched. Instead, you could set a goal of stretching every day and then modify your long term goal as you become more flexible.
Realistic – If it is not realistic it can be discouraging. You need to believe it is possible.
Time Based – If it is not time based you will not be driven to finish it.
If incorporating exercise into your life is one of your goals, Siel Bleu can help you achieve it. Our classes are catered towards the specific needs of our clients and our trainers all have degrees in Sports Science or a related field.
Find more information about us on our website at sielbleu.ie or on Facebook and Twitter.