Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Learning to set realistic goals

Yesterday an article was published by The Herald newspaper about ways to boost mental well-being. See http://www.heraldscotland.com/life-style/real-lives/in-the-mood-for-good-health-1.1078803 for the full article.

One of the key suggestions was to set realistic goals for yourself so you don't get downhearted when you feel you have failed to achieve your targets.

Although goal setting is something people focus on at New Year, it is equally relevant to everything we do at all times of the year. Because of this, the skill of setting realistic goals is of great benefit to us in our home and working lives and can help us achieve greater work/life balance too.

So how do we set realistic goals?

Often when setting goals it helps to split a larger goal into individual tasks - that way there is a strong sense of progress and it avoids seeing the exact same thing on your list for weeks (or longer) on end, which can be demoralising.

A simplified example of the goals involved in organising a party might look something like this:

  1. Look into event venues suitable for a party
  2. Phone up/email favourite venues: ask about catering, music, number of guests, available dates and times
  3. Decide on venue and book date
  4. Put together a  guest list in consultation with interested parties
  5. Write out/design invitations and deliver
  6. Chase up invitees to get final numbers

Rather than:

  1. Organise party!

Despite being for the same task, the latter example wouldn't change throughout the process, whereas the former example shows the task broken into bite sized chunks. Splitting larger tasks like this means each mini task can be ticked off as it is done, leading to a sense of achievement.

This technique translates very well into much larger tasks too and even delegated tasks involving others and helps if you are prone to procrastination too! Give it a try!

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