Fall is a great time to set goals! Goals help us make positive changes in our day-to-day lives that move us towards our hopes for the future. It is hard to know if we are moving in the right direction if we don’t know where we’re going! Goals are like a map, they guide us. They give us a sense of comfort knowing we have a plan, something to work towards. Setting goals gives us the chance to think about what is most important in our lives. Goals that we share and work on with our family, friends or colleagues can also build stronger relationships and closer connections.
Goal setting should not feel like it’s “too much work” or leave us feeling trapped. Some people like to call it “intention” setting instead. Intentions come from our beliefs and values but focus on the present rather than on far-off outcomes. Intention setting tells us it’s what we do today that matters the most. Whether we set goals or intentions, we need to give ourselves the freedom to change our minds and adjust our goals as we move towards them.
There is no one “right” way to set goals. Some people find the SMART strategy helpful, which gives us the following cues.
- Specific: What exactly would you like to do? What is your aim?
- Measurable: How will you know if you are moving towards your goal? What will you see?
- Achievable: Can you act to reach your goal? Is it something you can do?
- Relevant: Does this goal have meaning for you?
- Time: When would you like to reach this goal?
All parts of our lives can benefit from setting meaningful goals.
- Attitude (Ex. Being positive, being hopeful, seeing the good, being grateful)
- Physical Health (Ex. Being active, eating healthy food, sleeping, drinking water)
- Relationships (Ex. Spending more time with family and friends)
- Public Service (Ex. Volunteering, helping your community)
Taking time to write out or tell others our goals helps us to reach them! It is also important to see and celebrate our successes along the way. Goals are not all or nothing. Keep in mind how much you have already done instead of focusing on the things you still need to do.
Remember to be kind to yourself. This is a good year to think about what is important and fall gently back into our routines again!