The Importance of Goals and how to best approach them
Happy New Year! What a time we live in. 2022… This is the year you should go after your goals, your ambitions, whatever it is that you want to pursue. Yes, 2021 hit a peak dumping a whole lot of uncertainty on us and worry for the future due to the pandemic, and as we come to realise, we need to adapt and find our ways to work around it since circumstances are constantly changing. I can imagine we all have experienced being limited in one way or another due to COVID. It makes it difficult for us to plan ahead and foresee how the new year will look like, and I believe I speak for many when I say it can sometimes be difficult to find hope and joy amongst all the setbacks we’ve been forced to face lately.
COVID has by far reconfirmed with us how unpredictable life can be. We don’t know how quickly the world can turn around, how much time or how much freedom we will be privileged with, and worse part not being able to control any of it. This can be deeply frustrating, but what we do have control over is how we respond to things and what decisions we make along the way, and this is what we need to shift focus on. Focus on what matters to us, appreciate what we have, and use our energy to address the areas in our lives that has the potential to improve. We all can control how we choose to prioritise our time, the efforts we put into a task and our attitudes to certain situations.
There hasn’t been a more important time for everyone to maintain hope. Hope for the pandemic to stop, hope for better phases to emerge, hope for more experiences, for more time, for our own and our loved one’s health and wellbeing. But heck, sometimes we just hope that there’s enough toilet paper and milk left in the shops, right? What do we do? The definition of hope is a ”desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfilment”. When we feel hopeful, it causes our brains to release endorphins and enables a more optimistic view on life. Studies show that having hope is generally connected with agency thinking, which is the motivation to pursue goals and the belief in one’s ability to achieve them. In saying that, one of the best ways we can create a sense of hope is to work on our goals. So, whether you’re all about health and fitness- related goals or if you’re looking to pursue a career option, consume less alcohol or quit smoking, raising money for a charity, spend less time on social media etc., make sure you make one this year. It will help you keep going and have something to look forward to.
When you’ve set your goal, be smart with how you go about it. Know that obstacles can and will create disruptions on the way and you need to adjust your decision making around this. When stepping into this new year, fully reset from last, and keep in mind that it’s not the goal that creates the likelihood of whether you will achieve it or not, it is 100% your approach to it.
Depending on what approach you take, it can either work in your favour to fuel you on the way to get where you want to be, or it may cause you to inflict critical conversations with yourself, leading to self- judgement and self- sabotage. How do we develop the mindset to avoid sense of failure in times when it doesn’t go our way? This is where we need to dig deeper in order to get past the hurdles.
Let’s talk about the two kinds of approaches. Most of us operate on a “Results- led approach” mindset rather than an “Intention- led approach”. When you are “results- focused”, it’s more likely that as soon as you don’t reach the result, you put pressure on yourself and start talking down on yourself. E.g., let’s say you plan to attend four gym sessions per week, but only make it to one. If you are “results- focused”, then this will most likely cause sense of failure and the associated stress with this may lead you to stop trying. However, from an “intention- focused” mindset, you focus on the reason why you are doing it, e.g. you train to stay healthy and strong for your family and your own wellbeing. This makes the goal meaningful to you and therefore becomes much more powerful than any results because you know what your intention is, and that will keep fuel you to continue going to the gym and probably eventually also get you to the four days per week.
Are you being led by your results? Or are you being led by your intention? Start focus more on intention. Make sure you know why the goal is important to you. This helps to reduce the pressure of instant results and saves us from negative emotions to arise when we fail to meet our own expectations. With that, overall clearing your path to help yourself get to where you want to be.
If you need any guidance and support to get kickstarted on a goal this year, our Allied Health team at SCREP are equipped with many areas of expertise and are happy to assist you with this.