Goals are a way of transforming intentions into actions. They are an extremely useful tool for application in any aspect of life, and can help to increase the likelihood of achieving long term behaviour change. Without setting regular goals, you may end up working aimlessly towards something with no clear direction or plan, which in turn may result in a loss of self-confidence and intrinsic motivation. When it comes to rehabilitation, it has been described as “no surprise” that identifying goals with a patient is at the core of the process (Wade, D.T., 2009).
Goal setting can be done in a number of ways depending on the desired outcome, but it can be useful to set one long term goal, and then several ‘mini’ goals that will gradually help you achieve the long term goal. Mini goals can be set weekly and on something specific to help you focus your action and maintain motivation levels. These small changes can be gradually incorporated into routine and promote long term, sustainable behaviour change to enable long-term success.
There has been extensive research on goal setting principles and a very popular one is the SMART principle. Knowing whether you have set a ‘good’ goal can be challenging, however, looking at whether your goal is SMART, can be a useful tool. The acronym has many variations but the well-known one is as follows:
Specific – is your goal focused and detailed? Have you described everything you want to achieve?
Measurable – is there a way of measuring your goal? Without monitoring your progress, you cannot tell if you are on the right track
Achievable – is this goal something you have a good chance of achieving? Aiming too high can affect motivation and confidence.
Relevant – Is your goal relevant to you and your situation? There is no point in following a generic path if it provides no value or benefit to your own health.
Timely/Time bound – when would you like to complete this by? Adding strict deadlines can be too stressful for some, but setting a rough timeline helps you keep focused.
At Optimi, we encourage you to set a meaningful longer term goal and provide you with the motivation and support to achieve it. We help you set mini goals, map out a timeline and create a weekly plan to focus your efforts. We give you helpful nudges along the way to keep you on track and we also give you the option to join a community with people pursuing similar goals – the journey is often a lot more fun with a supportive team!
Come and join us, and download the Optimi App.