How to set good goals

Don’t plan on Olympic gold. As we watch the Olympic Games, we are treated to one inspiring story after another of people who set a goal, trained hard, and won their gold medal. The invisible flip side of the coin is that there are lots of people who trained just as hard and didn’t get gold. When the first two finish within 1/100 of a second, it is random chance that determines who ends up with the gold. And some athletes were eliminated from their life’s competition because they were unlucky to contract coronavirus at the worst possible time.

When setting your goals, do not have just one. That will make Olympic silver or similar achievements feel like a failure. In the chapter on goal-setting in my book Life after Bullying, I explain how to set minimum, target, and outrageous goals. Having several variations of your goal gives you the focusing effect of having a goal without beating yourself up if you don’t get exactly what you envisioned.

Read more about my book here: https://www.lifeafterbullying.com/book/

Work Fewer Hours

Are you working too much? When working from home, many people are working more hours than before. The hardest hit are those who already worked a lot.

There are some people who get paid by the hour and need to work a lot of hours to make ends meet. But too many people are simply putting in a lot of hours without actually creating value for anyone. You can always spend extra time on a report, attend another status meeting or put more illustrations into your PowerPoint presentation.

Track how many hours you work this week. Next week, work one hour less. You will find that knowing you have less time will focus your attention. You will get just as much done.

Plan Your Life

Have you planned next week? People who don’t spend some time thinking about their future often experience that all weeks feel the same. That feeling can accumulate to general dissatisfaction with your life.

It’s each to prevent this. Simply write down in your calendar what you intend to achieve next week. Because the world runs on a weekly cycle, making weekly plans is a good way to keep your life moving forward. The end of the week provides you with some spare time and is a good trigger for planning.

People who make specific plans achieve more. Decide today what you will achieve next week.

Fight Bullying with Your Mind

Social media has made bullying worse. The tone online is much harsher, and people will make horrible comments to complete strangers. That makes it hard for bullying victims and other victims of trauma to participate in open online communities.

It has not been a priority for Facebook, Twitter and others to crack down. Fortunately, politicians and regulators are starting to demand they do more than ban a single bully here and there.

Twitter just rolled out a new feature that looks at a tweet before it is sent. If the software thinks the message is bullying, the user gets a prompt to review the message before it is sent. That’s a good idea and something all social media platforms should implement.

However, your mind is much more powerful than technology. If you work on past trauma and build up your self-esteem, mean comments will not have any power over you. Contact me for free to learn more about how I can help.

The Author of your Life

Are you the author of your life? Think of your life as a book, and each day a new page is written. Some of the things that happen are things that have to be done. You need to eat, sleep and take care of personal hygiene. There is shopping, cleaning, and washing. You will spend part of your time on your job. I discussed that on Monday.

But that still leaves a lot of time under your control. Think about whether you are spending that time in the right way for you. For some people, watching a movie on Netflix is the right choice. For others, it is keeping in touch with friends, or reading good books, or learning something new.

The test of your priorities is to write down in your journal what you did with your personal time each day. If you feel proud and happy to write about your day in your journal, you are on the right track. If you feel hesitant or shameful when writing down how you spent your time, that shows you that there is something you can change for the better.

Consider Your Options

You know you’ve got too much stuff. Everybody in the industrialized world does. We are consuming much more than we need, and we are increasingly aware of the fact that we are consuming more than the planet can provide.

Next time you feel you need something, spend a little time evaluating the alternatives before your rush online to buy it. You might be able to have something repaired instead of buying a new item. Or you might not really need it. If you do need it, you might be able to get a used item instead of a brand-new one. If you need to buy something, you can buy from a vendor who uses fewer resources, green energy, or builds things made to be repairable.

Every decision has many possible options. It’s a good idea to get your thinking brain involved in the decision-making instead of just going with your first impulse. Sitting quietly for a few minutes every day gives your conscious mind the chance to help you improve your decisions. 

Does Your Job Provide Happiness?

Are you one of the oppressed workers of the world? This year, not many places had the traditions large gatherings for International Worker’s Day on May 1st. But many people use this day to reflect on their lives and careers. You are not an oppressed worker in a hard and dangerous job in a British 19th-century steel mill, but you might not be in the right job for you.

There are only so many minutes left in your life, and you are spending many of them on your job. Some people are fortunate to have a job that makes them happy. I’ve been happy in my earlier work helping people as an occupational therapist. I’m even happier now in my own practice helping victims of emotional trauma overcome their past. Other people have a job they are not that passionate about, but which provides the fuel for their life outside work. An old friend of mine has a regular IT job, which pays for him to pursue his passion for playing folk music. He makes enough money to live, to buy and maintain instruments, and travel to the festivals he wants.

Your life is yours to live, and you can choose either path. But if you have a job where you are bullied by your boss, your co-workers, or your customers, you need to find a way to move on to other things.

Reflect on Your Life

Are you spending enough time reflecting on your life? Today is  Great Prayer Day here in Denmark, and other countries have similar days. Even if you are not religious, take this reminder to spend some time thinking about your life.

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your life. We are so busy with our little tasks and chores that we do not have time to think about the longer term. But if you have not decided where you want to go, you have no guidance in your life.

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the cat: “Which way should I go?” The cat asks where she wants to get to, and she says: “I don’t much care where.” The cat replies: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Spend some time today, or this weekend, thinking about where you want to go in your life. What do you want your life to look like in one year, in five years, in ten years? What legacy do you want to leave?

You might think you don’t have an answer, but you do. You simply need to give your brain space and time to think. That’s why religious people pray, and others meditate. You don’t have to do either. You just need to turn off all your devices and spend several hours doing nothing. You know the answer. Let it come to the surface so you can act on it.

Build Your Exercise Routine Back

Are you out of shape after the pandemic? Many people had exercise routines centered around going to a gym or participating in a team sport. During the pandemic, that kind of exercise was not possible. Few have had the willpower to implement a corresponding solo regime, so we’re out of shape.

But now gym reopenings are beckoning, and you can soon go back to your weekly aerobics or Taekwondo class. To prepare for that, start going a little bit of exercise every day. If you’ve not been training at all, start with ridiculously small amounts of exercise, but add a little every day. Write down in your journal what you did and make sure you do just a little more each day. If you jogged for 100 yards yesterday, jog 150 yards today. If you did 3 jumping jacks yesterday, do 4 today.

Movement is important for both your physical and mental health. Start building your exercise routine back.

Train your Independence

Have you outsourced your thinking to your devices? Surveys show that spatial awareness and the ability to read a map are declining as everybody uses navigation apps to go anywhere. Now Apple has come up with a little tracking device you can put on your keys and other things you might lose. When you can’t find your keys, the corresponding app will tell you where they are. If you get one of these tracking things, you can be sure that your ability to remember where you put your keys is similarly going to decline.

If you are not practicing your spatial awareness or your memory, it will decline. Even if you don’t think about it, your mind knows that you are no longer able to run your life without your devices. That fosters a feeling of helplessness. Try going a few days without your gadgets. You will find that it is harder than you thought. And you will experience a sense of accomplishment and freedom.