This is the second article on setting goals. I am spending a little extra time on this subject because it will be important in later posts. The last article started with deciding that you have a choice in your behaviour, thus there is a point to setting goals. The second point of the article was to instruct how to set a goal in the first place. “I want to write.” That’s my goal. It isn’t very specific or measureable. I want to write grocery lists? No, I want to write a book. That’s almost specific. I want to write a book about counselling psychology. That’s even more specific. It is certainly attainable and realistic, but without having timelines in place, it still is a wide open, daunting task. I’ve never written a book before. How long does it take? What are the steps?
In the same vein, setting a goal of quitting smoking (or conversely living a healthy lifestyle), or finding happiness in one’s work setting may be too daunting to attack all at once. Any goal may appear too big to handle even after paring it down to its’ most specific form. An effective counsellor will help their client break their goals down into much smaller steps; so small perhaps, that it would resemble grass growing. We can’t always see it happening, but I’ll be damned if I don’t have to cut my grass a couple of times every week.
The first step to my goal of writing a book on counselling psychology starts with writing in smaller chunks. Writing these blog entries is my first step to writing a book. In this series of entries, I have to be fairly succinct, clear, focused and timely (as there is a scheduled submission time). What are the smallest steps in attaining your goals? Living a healthy lifestyle might simply start with acceptance of where you are right now; being mindful of how your body feels in this very moment. Measuring your weight, body mass index, waistline, breathing depth/rate, amount of daily sleep, observing your current habits all might be a place to start. The next step would be making one small change that you can maintain (as opposed to trying to do it all at once). If you are a fast food addict, continue to be so, but cut out the fries, or the pop. Just get the burger. One small change. Change how you take in your food. Be mindful of your eating. Put your fork down between bites. Chew each bite with full attention; notice what you are eating. Introduce one small bit of exercise into your day. One small sustainable change leads to the next.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA