Devils Dyke, Wheathampstead

ing able to effectively set and achieve goals can be enormously satisfying and can really help to build up self esteem and self confidence.  If you are new to goal setting then start small with daily targets that you aim to achieve that day.  Before you get started here are some points you may want to consider:

1.  Be Specific
Be precise about what it is you want to achieve.  If one of your goals is to lose weight then state exactly how much weight you would like to lose or what your target weight is.  If you use woolly language it will be much harder to tell if you have achieved your goal so be as clear with your language as you can.
2. Measurable
Like with the previous point, it is much easier to tell if your have reached your goal if you can measure your progress.  Use an objective measure to measure your progress and success.  

3. Achievable
Are your goals actually achievable? You could for instance want to grow six inches in height but if you have already reached adulthood and are not planning any major surgery, you are unlikely to achieve this goal.  It may be helpful to also look at your target dates for achieving these goals.  If you are trying to do too much in too little time think about setting some interim goals and moving your target date for achieving your overall goal.

4. Realistic
Working out if a goal is realistic can be tough as you need to be honest with yourself about your circumstances and skills at this time.  It may be that you need to scale down your goal or set yourself some interim goals.  Also, do your homework.  Research how others have reached these goals, how long did it take them and what additional resources did they need.

5. Time
Set yourself a time scale for achieving your goals and review your progress at regular intervals along the way.  Having a time scale in place will help to keep you focused and motivated. 

6.  Get Help
Sometimes a bit of outside advice or guidance can really help you to stay motivated and on track.  Ask people who will understand your goals, be positive and offer honest and constructive feedback when you need it.  Avoid people who you feel will be judgemental or overly critical.

7. Expect 'Off Days'
It's perfectly normal to have the occasional bad day where your motivation dips and you question yourself and your ability to achieve your goal.  If possible, plan for these days and be kind to yourself.  Goals by their very nature are challenging and require work.  If you are really struggling, remind yourself of your original reasons and motivations and imagine how you will feel when you have achieved them.

8.  Plan  
Work out what steps you need to complete in order to reach your target and set yourself interim goals along the way.  Think about whether these steps will require input from others, training, or new equipment or tools.  Do they need to be done in a specific order or by a certain date?  As you complete steps from your action plan tick them off and move on to the next stage. Seeing your progress will help to keep you motivated and feeling good about your reasons for choosing this goal.  

Don't forget to check out our new 'Goal' worksheet here.