When you have decided on areas you want to work on in your behaviour, it is useful to utilise goal setting in your self change program.
When you set a goal that is achievable and has an end point that’s not too far away, then you are more likely to be motivated to achieve it.
A goal needs to be SMART. This means that it is:
- Specific, so that you can recognise it when you get there;
- Measurable, so you are ale to monitor your progress along the way;
- Attractive, so that you are motivated towards it;
- Realistic, so that it is feasible and possible to reach;
- Time framed, so that you can review and reassess your goal at a point not too far into the future.
It is helpful to work out the strategies that will enable you to achieve your goal, and this may mean that you need to do some research.
You should also put a reward system in place. This may just be self-encouragement and positive self-talk, or it might be that you get support from others. For instance, you could give yourself pats on the back for good work, or sometimes it can be good to find another person to provide support for your endeavours. This could be a mentor, a friend, a family member, a life coach or a counsellor. It all depends on the goal you have in mind and who is most likely to provide the sort of support and encouragement you need.
For example, if decide that you want to become fitter, you could create an exercise program. Your goal might be “To feel better and fitter in 3 months.” The specific goal would be “To exercise as per my program three times a week. At the end of 3 months, I want to feel better and fitter.”
In order to help you achieve your goal, you could draw up a graph to monitor your exercise. You could also make a note of all the exercises you want to do that includes space to record the number of repetitions and the days you complete your program. If you are going to the gym, then make a note of the amount of time spent there and the days on which you go. You also need to rate your general sense of wellbeing and how fit you feel at different points along the way, e.g., at the start, in the middle and at the end of the 3 months.
Alongside of this, set up a reward system so that you will be more motivated to continue. As well as positive self-talk, a reward might be something like a trip to the movies, dinner out, or a social outing that you enjoy.
When you have the strategies worked out, you’ve set out the times when you are going to undertake your exercises, and you have the equipment necessary in place, then you can set a date to begin your program. This is where the action is. Give yourself reasons to take action towards your goal and repeat them to yourself often. For instance, if you want to appreciate the value of feeling healthy as a high priority, then you will likely be more motivated to keep going. Convince yourself of the positive reasons why you are doing it. Don’t accept your excuses. Just take action.
If you are being supported in your self change program, then you are more likely to achieve your goal and make greater progress than if you do it just by yourself.
Take action today!