Goal setting is a really important part of my daily routine. I actually find that if I set a few goals for the next day, I can sleep more easily knowing that I don’t have to think about remembering everything that has to be done the next day.
However, goal setting can become a hindrance rather than a help if we start to punish ourselves for not reaching those goals. Perhaps we’re overly ambitious with our time, perhaps we give ourselves too many difficult tasks in one go, perhaps we never allow time for self care.
I am a big fan of bullet journalling and setting goals and intentions each year, month and week. My yearly intentions are normally words that I want to cultivate. This year I have Teach Learn and Confidence as my words which I will write at the start of each month in my bullet journal so that I don’t lose track of them. Then I set goals for the month, such as practicing yoga and writing each day. My weekly and daily goals are then far more specific, perhaps they include a deadline for the week, preparation for meetings or interviews or a certain number of words or chapters I want to write.
But how can we make these goals kind and what do I even mean by that?
I believing that planning and goal setting are part of any good self care routine. By managing our time and setting goals we are making sure that we will feel less stress in the long run and that we are constantly improving ourselves. Kind goals don’t over stretch us but do challenge us to continue to learn and grow. If you’re out of work, on holiday or in a job that you don’t enjoy, these goals are a way to keep an eye on the long term goals that you will one day meet even if it feels you are stuck in a negative place right now.
Here are my four top tips on setting kind goals:
- Separate by time frame – just as I’ve discussed above, your goals for the year, month, week and day will all differ greatly from one another. When starting to set goals and intentions start big and move closer. As you move through the year return to your yearly intentions and make sure that the daily tasks such as completing assignments and housework aren’t detracting from these long-term goals.
- Schedule in self care – Sometimes in difficult times, self care can feel like hard work. Why would I make a nice meal when I need to be working working working? Why would I treat myself when I don’t have a job that I feel valued in? Work to overcome these negative feelings by scheduling in some time to practice self care and this can be as simple as making a fresh meal rather than snacking or eating a ready meal and can be as elaborate as a yoga, meditation, facial, early night routine once a week.
- Prioritise – You really don’t need to do everything NOW. And even if you feel that you do, you can’t do everything now. Make a to do list, prioritise it and then consider how much can you realistically get done without suffering from burn out? I try to only have three goals for the day, I might get more done and I will always find more if I complete those three, but I find that three goals doesn’t overwhelm me and I can really dedicate the time to each goal as I go.
- Don’t be afraid of change – You’ve set goals for the week of say, completing a five thousand word assignment, going to the gym for an hour each day, calling your grandparents and meeting with friends one night. However, by Wednesday you’re feeling tired and struggling to manage the assignment along with your one hour gym goal. So, change the goal. Perhaps you only go to the gym for half an hour or move your exercise home so that you don’t have to go to and from the gym.