Setting Goals

The Importance of Setting Goals

When I was 13 years old there were a few things I was not satisfied with about myself and my life. These things had been on my mind for some time and I wanted to do something about them. So I got myself a small hardback notebook and wrote down a list of the things I wanted to achieve that I felt would make me feel happier about myself.

It went something like this…

1) Get a job
2) Be more confident
3) Learn how to swim
4) Make teeth whiter
5) Trim waist to 22 inches

Remember, I was only 13 at the time and laughable though the list seems now, especially the teeth and waist ones, I had actually started the process of goal setting that I would later recognise when I began to explore the concept further.

I also made suggestions in the book as to how to achieve these goals. Getting a job then was just a case of looking in the local newspaper or simply walking in somewhere and asking but when I started making noises about wanting a Saturday job, my Uncle Stan suddenly appeared asking if I wanted to work Saturdays in his newsagent shop. The first indication that the law of attraction actually works!

That being the first goal on my list and obviously the most important to me at the time, achieving it made a huge difference to my life so I was quite satisfied for a time.

I hadn’t put down any kind of timescale or deadline to go with my goals but they were still on my list in black and white and would resurface in my mind every so often.

I did in fact try various things to make my teeth whiter; Pearl Drops was the ‘in’ product at the time but I ended up just brushing my teeth more often and that actually worked quite well.

I think I had read somewhere that Bridget Bardot had a 22 inch waist and I decided that was a good thing to aim for. The trimmest I ever got to was 23 inches – 22 if I pulled the tape measure really tight but then breathing became difficult! So that goal was never achieved.

I revisited being more confident the year I left school. I followed the suggestion I’d originally put on my list which was to enrol in acting classes. I joined the city’s performing arts college doing speech and drama. I knew I would have to take part in improvisation, getting up on the stage and performing and although it scared me to death I figured getting out of my comfort zone would help with my confidence. It did and put me on the path to breaking out of the shy mode once and for all.

Learning to swim came a bit later on when I took part in adult swimming classes. It didn’t take long and although I’ll never be a strong swimmer and still like to stay within my depth, at least I can join in instead of clinging with fear to the side of the pool.

Nobody had told me to make that list; I just did it instinctively but it is a method that works and has worked for me time and time again.

The process now is a bit more refined – obviously I put deadlines on my goals these days but in essence it’s not that different than what I did back then as a 13 year old.

Write a list of goals – start with small things to get confidence and then build up to bigger more long-term goals.

Write down how you will achieve the goals – Be as specific as you can and if it will take more than one action to achieve the goal, write down each step you will need to take to achieve it. For my goal to learn to swim I’d written down that to achieve it I would go to swimming classes at my local pool. I had researched how much it would cost and how many I would need and when I would be able to fit them in.  It may seem obvious but some goals are not as simple and require a lot more thought – writing it down makes it clearer and permanent.

Write down a deadline – this is important as it helps you to focus. If you don’t make the deadline, don’t worry, just reschedule a new deadline and aim for that.

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