In my last post Motivation Pt 2 I talked about clarifying why you want to make a change and reminding yourself of these reasons at the actual moment of making change. Our next step for enhancing your motivation is to set some goals. To be helpful goals need to be:
We use the acronym SMART to help us remember this.
An example of this type of goal is: to do a 5k run around my block 4 times this week. This specifically sets out what I’m going to do. I can measure it, simply by counting how many times I go for my run. It is all about the action I take – going for a run. With the training and practice I had previously done this became realistic. And it is time limited to the current week.
It is really super-duper important to set yourself realistic goals. If you do not set realistic goals you potentially set yourself up for failure. To go back to my running example, if I’d set the above goal when I first started running I would not / could not have achieved this. This “failure” could have led to a bunch of thoughts such as “I’m hopeless”, “I can’t do it”, “there’s no point”. All of these thoughts would make it more difficult to try again next time, making it more likely I’ll fail to meet my goal again.
By setting realistic goals, which perhaps start small but then build up, you are much more likely to experience “success” in the early phases. This success will lead to more helpful thoughts, like “I can do it!” and “good work!” Therefore you will be more likely to meet your goal again next time. Start from a smaller place and allow yourself to build up from there.