NEW SCHOOL YEAR – SETTING GOALS TO REDUCE STRESS
As the school summer holidays draw to a close and a new academic year looms, these last few days offer a perfect chance for us to take part in a bit of a ‘Life MOT’. A time for us to sit down with other family members and look at what our priorities are; what do you want to achieve as a family over the next year? Whether it be changing your routines, creating new ones, or perhaps taking the opportunity to set personal/academic/social or any other goals as a family unit – why not use the first few days of September as a time to bring all the household together and share ideas? For those of us who find ourselves under stress and pressure to succeed, taking the time to set some clear and realistic goals for the months ahead of us can help maintain clarity, and as a result help keep stress levels to a minimum. One of the great things about setting realistic goals and routines as a method of reducing stress is that it helps to avoid the often all-to-familiar feeling of ‘firefighting’, struggling to do everything at once and soon feeling our energy levels burn out. A simple technique for setting yourself a goal is to use the S.M.A.R.T technique.
S – ‘Specific’ – Be precise when setting your goal, try not to generalise e.g. instead of ‘be more organised’ which is quite generic, you could put ‘plan my meals for the week ahead every Sunday evening at 8pm’
M – ‘Measured’ – How will you know you’re achieving your goal, what will you measure it against? E.g. ‘I will plan my meals at least 3 times per month’, success against this goal can be clearly measured.
A – ‘Action’ – what specific tasks do you need to do in order to achieve your goal? What materials/resources will you need?
R – ‘Realistic’ – Is the goal you’re setting yourself one that you can reasonably achieve? For example, if you’re in £12,000 of debt and you set yourself a goal of ‘clearing all of my debt within 12 months’, can you realistically afford to pay £1,000 per month off or is this an impossible mission?
T – ‘Time Boundary’ – Set yourself a clear end date/marker for when you will achieve your goal, for example ‘in 3 months on 30thOctober I will have…’
The above technique offers a complete model for creating achieving and manageable goals for your life as we enter a new season. If you’re struggling to stay focussed or lack motivation to achieve your goals in life, why not give counselling a try? Tackling the underlying emotions behind feeling unmotivated or lacking energy can help you stay on track and lead a more fulfilling life. Contact me today to find out more about how counselling can help you achieve your goals and reduce stress.