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Stress Management ~ Setting Goals

A Day in the Life of Stress: Setting Goals

You probably have a good idea of how you would like your life to run and imagine it could only be a dream – but by setting a few goals it doesn’t have to be.

Setting goals is harder than it sounds. There are so many areas of your life where you could start: your job, family, relationships, health and fitness, and further education. Everyone has dreams and attempting to realise them can be incredibly stressful. Sometimes the pressure to succeed can build up into a brick wall that prevents you from getting where you want to go.

Changing the way you think about goals can affect the end result. It is much better to say to yourself, “I will execute this task well” than “I must not make that mistake again”. Positive thinking can make setting a goal easier than berating yourself with negativity.

Personal Planning

Write down your goals as short, concise sentences, this will focus your mind and help you gain knowledge about them. You can decide what it is you want to achieve and construct a step-by-step plan on how to get there.

Simple Everyday Goals

Setting personal goals helps to build up your self confidence as it allows you to focus and measure your successes. Try not to set goals that are too hard to reach and you should see results come quickly. You could start with something simple like spending more time with your family. This might mean a joint activity or having dinner together.

Catering for All

Involving all the members of your family will help to clarify everyone’s differing needs. If you are the type of person that sets goals relatively easily, but find the execution difficult, try to identify what’s stopping you. Perhaps you lack self-disciple. If this is the case, ask a friend if they will help coach you and keep you on track. For example, join an evening class with a friend.

Get Ahead with Goal Setting

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t turn everything around at once. Start by setting small targets and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference they will make.

Looking ahead

    • What kind of goals do you want to set? You may find that you have some lifetime ambitions like taking early retirement and emigrating, or starting a family; or more short-term goals like taking a course that will enhance your personal development. Breaking your ideas down in this way will help clarify your needs and enable you to structure the plans you have.

Define your ambition

    • If you are finding it difficult to make a decision about where to start, begin by writing a goal down on paper and then list the benefits and advantages of achieving that goal. Once you have about 25 or more items on your list, you are half way towards defining the meaning and value of your dreams. Everyone thinks of things they would like to do, but they rarely take the time to list the advantages in this way. Doing so will make the goal seem more worthy to you.

Stay grounded

    • When you come to set your goals be sure that they are realistic. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious but take care not to overstretch yourself, because, equally, there is nothing more disheartening than failing to reach a goal. Be specific and make sure that your goals are your own. You need to ask yourself honestly whether they are your dreams or whether you have been unduly influenced by your parents, the media or society, no matter how well-meaning such advice might be. Do what is right for you and believe in the choices you have made.

Take the challenge

    • On the other hand, it is important not to set your goals too low. A bit of challenge in your life is a good thing. It can be easy to take the simpler route as the fear of failure can look heavy in your mind. Setting goals that you are guaranteed to reach will dispel your fears, but where is the achievement in that?

See your goals

    • Visualise a clear mental image of the end result of your goal and keep it in the forefront of your mind. Play it over and over again until it is sharply focused. If you are trying to lose weight for example, imagine yourself slim and healthy, getting back into your skinny jeans or on a beach wearing a bikini you haven’t worn in years. Many people find visual stimulus more motivating than written lists, so this technique will help to keep you motivated.

Positive thinking

    • Stay positive, keep on track and keep moving forward, no matter what setbacks you might come across. Having a positive attitude in the face of whatever life throws at you is the key to success.
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