Did you notice this new year that lots of people were talking about their ‘goals’ rather than their ‘new year’s resolutions’? It might just be the circle of friends I have or the people that I see on Instagram, but it felt like a shift to me.

I think it’s good – a new year’s resolution is something that could sound like (not always) “I will stop doing…” or “I will stop eating…” or “I will exercise 6 days a week for an hour and cut out all alcohol, dairy, chocolate, gluten, sweets and crisps”. They can be driven by feeling bad about yourself or be so big and transformational that it makes you wilt just thinking about starting to tackle it.

This year I have been doing some reading about setting goals. I’ve learnt two things – one is how to eat an elephant and the other is The One Thing. They are two sides of the same coin.

Breaking down a large aim is going to make success more likely. For example, one of your goals might be to do with grades at A level. Say you’d like two Bs and one C. Living life with this as a goal is really difficult – how will you get that done? It just looms over you as a threat or a pressure or maybe a large elephant. If you break it down into manageable, achievable tasks (a bit of leg, or tail, or ear, say) it might look like “finish coursework by half term,” “read one set text per week,” “get 60% on the upcoming test so I know I’m on the right track”. These smaller goals then become your One Thing. And that’s what helps you prioritise and manage your workload. It helps you use your time more wisely and productively rather than faffing.

If this is something that interests you have a think about this:
• Set yourself a goal – something personal, something that you want to do yourself, not what your Mum or sister or whoever thinks you might need to do
• Make it specific and measurable – don’t just say “I want to be a runner,” say “I want to run 5km by March”.
• Make it actionable and realistic – this comes back down to breaking down and creating smaller chunks of activity that form your overall plan.

Not easy!! But quite a cool way of thinking about your big dreams and making them more achievable.

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