Before setting goals you need to know the
In a previous blog post, I outlined that to change your life, you first have to identify what you need to change. In case you missed this post and would also like to download the FREE “Life Review Deep Dive” exercise to help you get clarity, you can revisit the post and exercise here:
Once you have identified what you need to change, there is still one more step you need to take before actually setting goals. And that is reviewing what your motivation for the goal(s) are. Understanding the motivation behind the goal will help you to determine if the goal that you are setting is for right reasons – i.e. are you setting the goal because you want to or is it because you are seeking approval?
You may be asking yourself who would set goals for approval?
Many people set goals for approval without being consciously aware of their desire for approval.
Refer to the below examples:
These are just a few examples of doing things and setting goals for the approval of others, rather than setting the goals for our own desires.
Therefore, before setting your goals, be sure to take some time and complete the attached pre-goal setting exercise to make sure you are clear on your motivations for the goal.
"Old ways do not open new doors"
Setting goals is imperative to accomplishing our dreams because without setting goals, our dreams are effectively just wishes - a wish being a hope or desire for something to happen. This is a nice thought; however, the reality is that wishes do not manifest our desires. The only way to fulfil our dreams is to set goals and actions that bring our ideas to fruition.
With that said, it’s important to note that before setting goals to change our lives, it is essential first to review and examine what our existing life is like to determine what is and isn’t working. Now, this may sound obvious, however often we do not know what exactly is not working other than the fact that we feel unsatisfied. And, when we do not know precisely what is not working, we end up not knowing where or how to make changes which can lead us to then feeling stuck and in a rut.
Therefore, the first step before setting goals is to identify and understand what needs to change.
To gain this clarity, it is a useful exercise to review the previous 12 months to reflect on any key achievements, learning’s and challenges that we have faced.
If you would like to conduct this exercise, then download and complete the attached “Life Review Deep Dive” exercise to identify what you need and want to change in your life.
Some food for thought:
People often wait until the end of the year to build new goals, but why wait? The start of a new year is not going to make us any more successful in achieving our goals than if we start working on our goals now.
Many of us view ourselves and our lives through the lens of judgment, going from room to room in our mind, continually searching for ways to improve. And whilst self-improvement is always a good thing, it’s also important to remember to practice self-acceptance. Because if we don’t, and we only view ourselves critically, we end up with poor self-worth, which impacts all areas of our lives.
Self-acceptance is about celebrating the good as well as the aspects
So how do we practice self-acceptance?
Quite simply, self-acceptance starts with liking yourself, which begins with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in positive ways.
In practical terms, to practice self-acceptance consider implementing the following:
Enjoying a nourishing meal
Getting a good night’s sleep
Treating yourself to something you want - flowers or a night out, for example.
Setting, committing to and communicating your boundaries,
These are just a few short tips on how to practice self-acceptance.- If you need more ideas, please feel free to reach out to me.
To reiterate - don’t just focus on what you want to improve - recognise and spend time celebrating how great you are just because you are you. The more you practice self-acceptance, the more your self-worth will improve, which will increase your motivation for your other goals.
Healthy Body = Healthy Mind
Regular exercise reduces our risk of major illnesses as well as decreases our risk of anxiety and depression, and as a bonus also aids our sleep. However, many people do not get sufficient exercise because they have adopted a sedentary lifestyle. As a society, we spend more time than ever at jobs which require us to sit all day, and our choices for relaxation usually include inactive activities such as reading, watching TV, scrolling social media or staring at our phones and computers.
And, to assuage our guilt for not exercising, we typically offer up excuses. I am sure I am not the only one who has told themselves the daily lie of ‘tomorrow I will go to the gym’ or ‘tomorrow I will start exercising’ or I ‘don’t have time to exercise’.
However, consider this analysis when bearing in mind that there are 24 hours in a day:
When we consider this analysis, the excuse of having ‘no time’ falls flat.
Several years ago, I decided to drop my excuses, and I became an avid runner. I went from only ever running for a bus to gradually training myself to run long distances ranging from between 6 and 9 miles at a time, four to five times a week. Once I got past the first 20 minutes of each run during which time my body and mind complained, and cursed about how much running sucked, I began to love the rhythm of my breath and the sound of the steading pounding of my feet on the pavement. Initially, my body would scream in objection of feeling the cold air upon leaving the house with nothing but a long-sleeve thermal top and yoga pants on, but eventually, I would warm up and thrive in the raindrops splashing on my face. My mind would start to clear, and I would get into ‘the zone’, logging mile after mile.
Now, I am not suggesting that running is for everyone; however, I recommend finding a physical activity which you enjoy that you can commit to for at least 30 minutes each day. The reason being is that exercise produces endorphins and serotonin, which improves our mood, and which directly and positively impacts our mindset. And, having a positive mindset is what ensures that we actively work towards building and living a happy, fulfilling life. Furthermore, exercise not only impacts our mindset, we physically feel better for it. Exercise overall increases your quality of life.
If you find yourself offering up excuses to yourself as to why you can’t exercises, consider asking yourself the following key questions:
Many people struggle to sleep at night, and this directly impacts their mindset. The consequence being that without adequate sleep, we can feel groggy, dazed and too tired even to motivate ourselves to make meaningful, positive changes in our lives.
For many years throughout my career, I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep a night, which eventually led me to develop insomnia.
I didn’t schedule a set time to go to sleep but instead made it a habit to flop into bed at around midnight but not before first checking my Blackberry and answering a few emails. I would then fall into a deep sleep which lasted exactly 2 hours every night without fail. Subsequently, my mind would decide that 2 am was the perfect time to solve the world’s problems, plan my day and think about all the things I needed to. I became acutely accustomed to staring at the bedroom ceiling, making mental to-do-lists while my husband slept blissfully next to me. And then, finally, after tiring myself out from all my problem solving I would fall into a deep, blissful sleep at around 5 am only to have the alarm clock go off at 7 am to start getting ready for work.
This cycle of poor sleep lasted years which meant that I felt perpetually tired and wired. I was tired because I was so exhausted from lack of sleep. I was wired because I was constantly working in overdrive mode and pounding my system with technology right up until the last minute before going to bed. In effect, I never gave myself a chance to slow down and clear my mind.
Sleep is essential to our wellbeing, yet many of us are sleep-deprived and acquire a sleep deficit each night. Work and family obligations consume much of our time, and when we add not making sleep a priority to the equation, lack of sleep becomes a habit. Which means we do not obtain the optimum 8 hours sleep a night required for our physical and mental health.
Additionally, research shows that the light from our computers, phones, TV’s and other forms of technology suppress melatonin (which helps control our sleep and wake cycles) which leads to disruptive and poor sleep. Poor sleep contributes to overall fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, poor decision making, short temperament and depression as well as raises the risk of serious medical issues.
In essence, we need to make sleep a priority not only for our health and wellbeing but also so that we can have a clear and focussed mindset to live a positive, fulfilling and meaningful life.
To address my own insomnia, I implemented lifestyle changes which included:
If you have poor sleep habits, and want to sleep better, consider implementing the following:
Enjoying a warm bath
Writing in a journal
Listening to an audiobook or podcast.
By making these small changes, you will notice an improvement in your sleep as well as your day to day mindset and wellbeing, which will not only benefit you but also those around you.
According to a Deloitte study, 58% of people check their phones within 30 minutes of going to sleep. Considering this, ask yourself the following questions:
Consider keeping a sleep diary to gain an awareness of your sleep habits. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just write down the following:
Once completing this exercise for a week or two, consider if there are any changes you need to implement to improve the quality of your sleep.
Hi! Welcome to the Mindset Coaching Blog, where I will be sharing with you how to develop healthy habits and empowering beliefs.
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