SMART Goals for Self-Care September
Haven’t yet set SMART goals for Self-Care September? Then it’s time to STOP, get those busy, stressed feet back on terra firma and get smarter!
It’s early September: children go back to school, summer holidays ebb away into the past and the transition into autumn (and winter) begins. It seems a natural time to take stock of where we are in our lives and where we want to go, a great time to take a moment to look at yourself (rather than others) and get involved in Self-Care September.
Have you noticed that every year, around the final ‘official’ week of summer (at least in the northern hemisphere) our body starts calling us to slow down? I’ve had many conversations over the past week or so where women have said, “Phew! I. Just. Need. To. Slow. Down.”
How often do we reflect on a crazy-busy summer and blame that for the way we’re feeling? But, have you considered that, on an energetic level, it’s also because we’re more attuned to the changing seasons than we think?
While eating seasonally is health-critical, the burgeoning science on circadian rhythms is showing us that living seasonally is probably as, if not more, important.
Living out of sync with how Mother Nature intended brings consequences that we’re often not aware of… until it’s too late.
One way we can impact on our happiness and mental well-being is to make plans and set ourselves some goals for the coming months. Goals and ambitions help to motivate and excite us, promoting feelings of purpose, optimism and hope. Goals help us fulfil a deep psychological need to grow, connect, improve, and achieve self-actualisation.
But it’s important that these goals are realistic and achievable.. aka… SMART GOALS! It’s great to be ambitious and aim high, to stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zones, but if we attempt the impossible, this might bring a sense of failure, despondency and unnecessary stress.
Specific – Don’t be vague.. define the goal in real detail and outline exactly the behaviour you want to target.
Measurable: As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so how will you know when you’ve achieved it?”
Achievable: Be ambitious, but patient. Don’t set the bar too high at first… by winning the small battles, you’ll win the war!
Realistic/Relevant: Can you actually achieve the goal and how will achieving your goal help you to change a behaviour you’d like to change?
Time-bound: It is important to set a time-frame as this will keep you motivated! People always work better when there is a deadline in sight.
Setting SMART, ambitious yet realistic goals, gives us direction and purpose and when we achieve them (or even just make some significant progress towards them), this brings with it a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and positivity towards what the future may bring.
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
Own your goals!
Ambitions and goals are usually most successful when they’re something we really want to achieve and when we set them for ourselves.
They can be long-term, short-term or simply day-to-day, and while smaller goals may seem unimportant, having personal projects which are realistic, controllable and which really matter to you brings feelings of positivity and optimism and can be highly beneficial to health and happiness.
Science shows that optimistic people tend to be happier, healthier and cope better with stress and adversity. Optimism is believing that things are more likely to turn out well than badly, so it follows that our level of optimism influences how determined we are in working towards our ambitions and goals, and also how we deal with setbacks failures to achieve those goals.Setting SMART ambitious yet realistic goals gives us direction and purpose. Give yourself something to look forward to in #SelfCareSeptember Click To Tweet
So how to remain positive and optimistic, while at the same time keeping your feet on the ground and remaining realistic? It helps to set goals for what you want to achieve rather than what you want to avoid; deal with issues and setbacks as and when they crop up, rather than putting them off or ignoring them altogether; and don’t agonise over what you can’t change, or you can’t control – revise your goal accordingly rather than abandon it totally.
Many people find it useful to have an ‘accountability partner’ or support network. While this is usually helpful, it’s also true that nobody is really going to hold you accountable for achieving your goals: it’s your life and these are your goals, and ultimately, it’s your responsibility to hold yourself to account for working towards your ambitions and goals… and not to be conscious of displacement-behaviours, excuse-making and self-sabotage.
Enjoy the journey
But remember: while setting, working towards and (hopefully!) achieving goals is challenging and takes plenty of dedication and perseverance:
- Enjoy the journey
- Encourage yourself every single day
- Congratulate yourself when you do difficult or different things outside your comfort zone
- Reward yourself as you reach (and pass) each milestone
You can achieve every single one of your ambitions and your goals – however large, however small – and you can make positive progress towards a better, happier and healthier life. Let’s not pretend it will always be easy… but the results will be SO worth it!
Click here to download my ‘SMART Cheat Sheet’ on setting yourself realistic, achievable goals as part of your self-care routine this September.
My Femergy@40 Nutrition and Lifestyle Health Coaching programmes empower, inspire and support busy, overwhelmed women – fighting fatigue, struggling with their weight, sleep, energy or with diagnosed health issues – to get back into the driving seat to create more energy, vitality and much better health.