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Achieving your goals - intention

Lifestyle coach Effie Parnell-Hopkinson kicks off our 'achieving your goals' series with the first instalment focusing on intention and how to set achievable goals.

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes a reality.”

Lifestyle coach Effie Parnell-Hopkinson kicks off our 'achieving your goals' series with the first instalment focusing on intention. She also supports us to understand the process of setting achievable goals.

Whilst it is fantastic that so many people recognise the need for change, it is not surprising that so many do not succeed. Even if the motivation is there, the 6 am alarm is set, the new shopping list is written out, NO ONE can change their long-term behaviour overnight.

A change of behaviour must be preceded by a process, broken down into manageable and achievable steps. Whether this is a process of identification, of learning, forming new and healthier habits, or even changing thought patterns to support the desired behaviour. Whatever it may be, it is hard to do overnight. But that is not to say it is impossible!

As with any desire for change, the first thing that must be established is your goal. What is it exactly that you want to achieve? What excites you and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? Your goal is something that has meaning, purpose and something that directs your actions. Unless you tie your goal to something that is significant to you, then the chances of burning out and losing interest are very high.

Intention

Once you have narrowed down on the above questions and developed your answers, then you can start to apply the SMART goal-setting principles. These principles give guidance in the setting of goals.

There are a couple of variations depending on the type of goal, but some suggestions include:

S: specific, significant. Precisely what is it that you want to achieve? 
M: measurable, meaningful. How will you measure your progress?
A: attainable, achievable. Is your goal achievable? Be realistic.
R: relevant, results-orientated. Is your goal important to your own personal needs and desires?
T: time-bound, trackable. When do you want to achieve it? Set a start and endpoint for your goal. 

So, an example of a goal without using these principles would be something along the lines of: “I want to lose weight, so I feel better about myself.” Using the same example, when applying the SMART principles, it would look like this: “I want to lose 6kg in three months, which follows the recommended 0.5kg weight loss per week. I am going to track my progress through photos, measurements and how clothes fit me.”

You can already see how much more specific and personal the second goal is, right? The same idea applies to whatever your goal is, whether it is to do with nutrition, health, fitness, or business. So now that you have established your goal, your endpoint and the finish line. Now what? Well, you need to pave the path that will allow you to reach your goals.

Remember: “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes a reality.” Everything we have discussed from the start to the end of this blog comes back to this quote.

We have established what your intrinsic dream is. We then applied the SMART principles, setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and trackable guidelines, turning the dream into a goal. So, the next step is to create a plan, breaking down each stage into its most basic form. This takes time but as with any goal setting, is absolutely necessary. This goal-setting strategy not only requires you to become even more specific with your goals but allows you to keep on top of your progress on the path towards making your dreams a reality.

Maybe you’ve already set yourself a 2021 goal, perhaps you haven’t. Nevertheless, apply the principles we have spoken about. Take the time to sit down and figure out precisely what it is you want to achieve. Finally, make a solid plan to get there.

Stay tuned for more support coming over the next few weeks to help get your 2021 off to a great start. But not only this, also how to build and sustain your motivation and momentum – which is the key to any successful accomplishment.