Are you guilty of setting unattainable goals for yourself?
You definitely aren’t alone. Whether it’s New Year's resolutions or grandiose 10-year plans, unrealistic goals can actually leave you feeling worse about yourself.
Looking to learn more about the importance of goal setting, we sat down with Vera health coach Alice Bowman. She was able to shed some light on healthier ways to set goals, how you schedule your time, and how to better set boundaries for your needs.
The importance of goal setting
Whether you think of yourself as a goal setter or not, all people rely heavily on future-based goals and tasks to keep them engaged and motivated from day to day. We use minor social events, monthly bills, and upcoming achievements to keep us moving forward — so when a significant change interrupts even these small goals, a massive impact can be felt.
“A big change like the pandemic has identified "general" groups of people. Those who already set goals and adjusted accordingly, and those who were uncertain of how to approach next steps.”
And while Alice admits to the overgeneralization of the above statement, it is true that having well-defined goals is a major component of our sense of self-worth, motivation, and ability to cope with change.
The 0 - 60 method
So, why is setting goals so important, and why is it so hard to do?
For many people, frustration is a major component of goal setting. This is because so often, we set big goals for ourselves that may be out of our range of capacity.
“I call it the 0 - 60 method,” Alice explains. “We all of a sudden tell ourselves that we need to make a big change. Then, we overcommit by saying things like, “I am going to go to the gym for an hour a day, seven days a week, and that our new plan will totally work out.”
Of course, these grandiose plans are incredibly difficult to achieve and maintain for any prolonged period of time. When the “life” factors like your busy job, partner and kids, and social obligations come into play, this goal becomes even more unachievable.
“People need to stop trying to go from 0 to 60 overnight.”
Are you giving yourself enough credit?
Especially with the effects of the pandemic still incredibly present, the idea of sitting down to make a 5- or 10-year plan can seem like an impossible task. And for many people, setting these types of goals should not even be a priority.
The pandemic has thrown a wrench in many people’s future plans. Single mothers, people who are working from home while helping their kids with online school, and people who lost their jobs are all examples of people who may not have the capacity to plan for the future at the current moment. And that is completely ok.
“You’re planning the next meal or organizing the next summer activity for your kids. In the current world, you need to be realistic about what you are capable of and give yourself the credit you deserve.”
If you aren’t taking the time to appreciate and give yourself credit for the hard work, you’ll only feel worse about yourself. “Keeping your goals simple and achievable is a great way to empower yourself.”
The power of scheduling (and some old fashioned highlighters)
It is incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if your schedule feels like it is always getting the best of you. “Finding the anchors in your schedule can be incredibly helpful for time management,” Alice explains.
If you want to learn more about your time, get out the colored highlighters and block off the times you use throughout the week. Work, dinner, kids, date night, etc., can all be plotted to see where your gaps are. “You may realize, hey, every Tuesday night, I have a two-hour empty period after I put the kids down. I’m going to prioritize that time as me time.”
That fulfillment time can be used however you want. Whether you want to exercise, engage in self-care activities, or chat with family or friends, identifying the gaps in your schedule is a great way to reduce overwhelm and allow you to engage in activities you actually want to do.
Setting necessary boundaries
Another tip to help you stay dedicated to your goals is to set boundaries with yourself, your partner, and the other people in your lives.
Identifying stress and negative emotions can be helpful in keeping you on track. “I suggest to my patients to go home to their partner and say, I would like two hours a week to be spent as just “me” time. You can have the same as well. And when you work this time into your schedule, you will feel less stressed and more motivated to keep moving forward.”
We all experience “me” time differently. Whether you are an introvert who enjoys the quiet or an extrovert who needs time out with friends to recharge, booking time for yourself is an essential skill that many of us forget to do.
“People really have to identify what they need, and then all the goals come after that.”
How a Vera health coach can help
As we have learned, goal setting is not always an easy task. To help you along the way, a Vera health coach can be a beneficial resource.
Health coaches spend the time to get to know you. They provide incredibly personalized care that can help you answer questions about yourself like, what do you value, and what motivates you?
“My goal as a health coach is to understand the whole person. So, when they go to set goals, even if they aren't sure what areas they want to work on, there are particular questions that we can ask that evoke the answers that allow you to express your authentic self.”
Working with a health coach can be an incredibly helpful process for those looking to improve their goal-setting abilities. At Vera, we offer comprehensive health coaching services to all of our members. If you aren’t sure if health coaching is right for you, we book introductory calls with our health coaches to allow you to ask questions and find out if health coaching is right for you.
Putting it all together
Goals do not need to be scary, big, unachievable ideas. In fact, the less that they are like that, the better!
Western society is focused on the hustle and grind, encouraging people to work too hard and not properly take time for themselves. Because of this, so many 0 - 60 method goals are made that don’t serve a good purpose.
Alice highlighted the importance of goals and gave us a couple of great pieces of advice about scheduling and setting boundaries. We highly recommend that you give these tips a try — you may be surprised at how well they work.
If you are interested in getting some assistance with your goal setting, Vera whole health coaches are available! As compassionate health care workers ready to work with you, health coaches are an excellent option for those who want a personalized experience.
To see if health coaching is right for you, please go to patients.verawholehealth.com and schedule a Coaching Connection appointment today.