Believe in yourself.
This is the first thing you should do prior to setting any lofty goals. At the core of goal setting, you must have a flicker of belief that you can attain the goals that are deep down inside of you.
What do you want to do?
I find in myself and through observing others that self doubt often leads to excuses. People will say things like “I want to do ____, but it’s not a good time for that right now”. Or “ I would love to learn guitar, join a martial arts class or start exercising, but I don’t have any free time, not enough money or I’m too old”. Wrong. These excuses are everywhere, but it doesn’t have to be you that uses them.
Why now and not later?
Did you ever wonder why January 1st is the “perfect” time to change your life habits? The timing of the new year craze is about support. We feel pressure when everyone else around us is quitting smoking or working out. We work out in the new year in part due to the peer pressure we feel. In terms of motivation, this is more of an external motivator rather than an intrinsic motivator. It goes back to the first line I wrote: Believe in yourself.
Goals that mean something.
In order to set deeply rooted goals they must come from the heart. You yourself must first believe in the changes that need to be made. Go big or go home. Set goals that will make some sort of difference. Try not to tell everyone what you are up to. Try and minimize the advertising of your goals as to not put that external pressure on yourself. Trust me you are going to feel plenty of pressure without everyone adding to it.
Goal setting strategies.
I always ask my students to set three different goals. A short term goal (1-6 months), a Mid-term goal (6 mo-1 year) and a long term goal (1 year-5 years ). The short term goal is something simple that won’t be overly difficult to accomplish. This should be something that will inspire you. Something you will see the results of within a few weeks or months. For example: One of my short term goals is to run three miles with out stopping. Notice I said “without stopping”. I might crawl for the last quarter mile but hey, if I make it, I make it!
The Mid-Term goal should in some way be connected to the short term goal so when you gain the momentum of achieving the first goal you set, you will just continue into phase two. The Mid-Term goal should be something realistic and should take approximately (6 months to 1 year) to accomplish. My short term goal for me was directly linked to one of my needs as a martial artist. This need is all about endurance. I must have strong endurance in order to compete at the high level I wish to obtain. While working on my short term goal, I am simultaneously accomplishing my mid-term goal of my overall athleticism improving. I want to be able to train and compete without feeling like my muscles are completely maxed out. I need “staying Power”. This will be a lengthy process and consists of safely working out in tune with a stable diet. When this goal has been completed, on to phase three.
Long Term goal setting is tricky. One of my personal long term goals is to win another World Champion title. Well, this technically falls into the mid-term goal because a competition season is 1 year. The reason I put it as a long term goal is because while a tournament season is 1 year, it may take me 1-2 years to get to the level I need to be at in order to be competitive with my peers. Set a long term goal that is a dream of yours, not a fantasy.
You need positive support.
With that said, you do need support. You need support from people who have your best interest in mind. You want support from those who will not judge you in a negative way, but instead will encourage and inspire you. This might be your mom, dad, spouse, trainer or instructor. It is imperative you have a mentor that will be a sideline cheerleader for you. You will need help because jumping out of your day to day routine can be very difficult.