Friday, January 23, 2009

Setting Goals

With the New Year, many of us have decided to make changes.  Losing weight is probably the most frequent goal.  A problem that prevents many of us from achieving that goal is the failure to spell out HOW we will do that.  We may have general goals like exercise more and eat less.  These are generally too vague to be effective,  Instead, we need to be more specific.  What will we do? How many times a week will we exercise?  For how long? Specific ways of addressing food might be to follow a diet, increase eating healthy snacks, or stop buying sweets.

When a goal is stated in a negative way, ex. stop picking on one's brother, what will the siblings do INSTEAD? One goal might be to increase playing together in a cooperative way. When you want to change a negative behavior, it is best to try to increase an incompatible behavior. An example might be for one who wants to feel less tension in their body, to do 10 or more minutes a day practicing relaxation exercises, listening to guided imagery recordings, meditating, or doing Yoga. Many ex-smokers have found other things to do with their hands than hold a cigarette.

When you create specific goals, it is much easier to spell out what concrete tasks might help you achieve those goals. It has been said “If you DON'T know where you are going, you will probably end up SOMEPLACE ELSE!”
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