A Monthly Wellness Column
By Amie Mignatti
This month we are discussing goals. It is important to find ways to stick to our goals and maintain our energy and momentum surrounding these goals. Goal setting is something that is essential for upward movement and positive change, but it requires a lot of focus, commitment and determination. In our culture, we often set goals once per year, on New Year’s, and then the general tendency is to work hard on them for a few weeks and soon after let them fall to the wayside as our busy lives once again take precedence. We are then filled with feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness, etc.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. We need to change our habits and our patterns, which isn’t easy, but is possible, and so very worth it. We need to start by changing the way we set goals and our mindset around them.
Below are my tips for goal setting and how to maintain these goals. I work with many of my coaching clients on exactly this theme and have seen a great change in people when they use these principles.
- When choosing a goal to work on, do it with your entire being (mind, body, heart and soul). Ask yourself these questions:
a. “How manageable/feasible is this?”
b. “How much time do I need to achieve this goal?”
c. “What is the price I’ll pay for working on this goal?”
In order to achieve any goal, it needs to be broken down into manageable steps: it needs and deserves a concrete plan of action. We also need to be realistic with our goals; we often set the bar so high for ourselves that it is impossible to reach. Slower is better. Each and every change in life comes with a price. When we allow something new into our lives, we need to create space for it. That new space may fill a void or it may be taken from somewhere else. It’s very important to know what you are willing to give up in order to achieve your goal.
- The only way to reach a goal is to change the way you are currently living.Let that sink in. Are you okay with that? Where most people fail is that they decide to make the lifestyle change, but do so and go from 0 to 100 in a matter of days. This is setting yourself up for failure. Use that energy and momentum that you have in the first couple of days/weeks to make a plan for your goal. Do things slowly and mindfully. It’s the minutes, hours and days that count towards change.
- Make a plan.Sit down once per week and make a plan for the next week around your goal. If it’s going to the gym, see where you can plan that in and do it. Hold your goal in the utmost regard, like you would your job. It has now become equally important in your life. This is key to any sort of goal maintenance.
- Plan for the stressful times.Let’s say you want to lose weight, and so you throw out all of your junk food, stock the fridge with healthy food and you’re off. This is great, until the challenge of stress comes. One of the first things we do in a stressful situation is to reach for a substance to help us avoid feeling it (in this case, it’s food). What do you do? Do you revert to your old habits and run out and buy a bag of chips/chocolate/etc. OR do you change the way you handle the situation? This can be one of the hardest parts of goal setting because when the stress and triggers come (and they always do and will): how do you react?
If you have a plan made for these situations, then you can revert to that and reprogram yourself. You can take a bath, call a friend, go for a walk, go to the gym, etc, until the feeling passes and subsides. And you must do this every single time that craving comes; this is where discipline comes in, and this is where the lasting change is made.
It takes 30 days to form a habit- positive or negative. Use those 30 days to form a good habit when you are setting goals, and drop that old one.
- Have an accountability partner.Find a person with whom you can check in with when things start to go astray and you find yourself in your old patterns. You can be the same sounding board for her as well!
Goals are achieved in small steps and by paying attention to these small steps. The big picture is necessary to have, but it’s the small steps that get you to the bigger picture.
- Take time every day to sit in silence and focus on your goal.Five minutes a day is all it takes. Sit down, think about your goal, imagine yourself having obtained the goal, and stay with that. This alone will help change the old patterns and give space for the new ones to emerge.
- Be gentle with yourself.We are only human and we do make mistakes. The more aware and conscious you are of what you want, and willfully bringing that into your life, the easier it will be to move forward with it, and the less you will fall. However, when we do fall, it’s fine. Get back up and keep going.
Amie Mignatti is a free-spirited woman with her heart and feet on the earth. She is a Nature Coach and works with women to help them step fully into their own power, individuality and creativity. She runs retreats & courses globally and offers private sessions in the beauty of Munich’s outdoors.
Check out her website here.