Der­val O’Rourke

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Contents -

THIS week I’m chat­ting all about goal set­ting. Recipe wise it’s my favourite sticky kale and but­ter bean side plus the most de­li­cious win­ter cous­cous salad.

Re­cently I gave a cor­po­rate talk on goal set­ting and it got me think­ing how Fe­bru­ary can be a great time to re­assess your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions and set some new goals if needed. I think the main is­sue with res­o­lu­tions is that many of us feel pres­sure to over­haul our whole lives overnight.

We prom­ise our­selves we will eat bet­ter, move more, be more or­gan­ised and so on. Un­for­tu­nately, this ap­proach rarely breeds suc­cess and hence many of us are left feel­ing de­flated and de­mo­ti­vated come Fe­bru­ary. If this is you then don’t throw in the towel just yet, try and re­mem­ber that it’s what you do dur­ing the next 11 months that re­ally mat­ters.

Keep check­ing in and ask­ing your­self if what you are do­ing now is set­ting you up to do amaz­ing things in three, six, or even 12 months. Here are my top five tips to help get you started: 1. Set SMART goals:

Spe­cific: Avoid vague goals like “I will eat health­ier” and aim for clear, mea­sur­able ones like “I will cook one new healthy dish a week”. Th­ese are much more achiev­able be­cause you know what you are aim­ing to­wards.

Mea­sur­able: Make sure you can to mea­sure your de­gree of suc­cess. If your goal is sim­ply to “get stronger” how will you know when you have been suc­cess­ful? In­stead try “I will be able to dead­lift Xkg” that way you know you will have ac­tu­ally achieved some­thing and will be mo­ti­vated to con­tinue.

Achiev­able: Set goals that are re­al­is­tic yet chal­leng­ing, the ones that re­quire you to “raise the bar” are the ones that will bring you the great­est per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion. I used to set mas­sive goals; this was when I was a pro­fes­sional ath­lete and those goals were very achiev­able. Now my fit­ness goals are far more mod­est and achiev­able to where I am in life but they are im­por­tant nonethe­less.

Rel­e­vant: Make sure your goals are aligned with the di­rec­tion you want your life to take.

Timed: Put an ex­piry date on your goals to help you stay on track. This is not to pres­sure you; it is sim­ply to make you more likely to suc­ceed. 2. Write them down: When it comes to achiev­ing your goals, mo­ti­va­tion is key and by writ­ing down why a par­tic­u­lar goal is valu­able and im­por­tant to you, you are stat­ing your in­ten­tion and set­ting things in mo­tion. 3. Make them vis­i­ble: We all have mo­ments where we start to doubt our­selves and lose con­fi­dence in our abil­ity to make those goals hap­pen. To com­bat this, post your goals in vis­i­ble places to re­mind your­self ev­ery day of what it is you in­tend to do. My­self and Aish­ling have a flipchart in the of­fice with all our work and life goals for 2018 writ­ten down on it. But find where works for you, put them on your bed­room walls, bath­room mir­ror or keep them on your phone so you can check it when­ever you need a quick boost to stay on track. 4. Shar­ing is car­ing: Shar­ing your goals can be re­ally valu­able as it helps to keep you ac­count­able when you want to give up and means you have some­one to sup­port you. 5. Cre­ate an ac­tion plan: Break your SMART goals down into the in­di­vid­ual steps needed to achieve them. Be­ing able to cross each one off as you com­plete it means you can clearly see that you are mak­ing progress and it’s th­ese small wins that will see you through. Fit­spi­ra­tion: An­drea Hayes — My Life Goals Jour­nal This is a gor­geous book per­fect for any­one look­ing to achieve their goals this year. An­drea has cre­ated a 12-step strat­egy to help iden­tify your goals and fo­cus on each one, month by month. It’s packed with lots of ex­er­cises for over­com­ing your per­sonal men­tal blocks, in­spi­ra­tional quotes and space for your monthly jour­nalling. Check out an­drea­ for more.

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