Goal setting, Inspiration

Goal setting – what matters is what works for you

I spend many Saturday mornings sorting out goals….

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Every January we are bombarded with goal setting tips, ideas and examples, for work, for health, for life. It can feel overwhelming, and I certainly sometimes feel “peer” pressure to set goals. However, I am not always in the right frame of mind to set goals. If I set goals because I “should”, then the goals are rarely the ones that are truly meaningful and I rarely meet them. I need the right environment to set my goals, and it has to be the right moment. Admittedly it is inconvenient when this moment occurs on the school run or when I am doing something for the kids, so I am not saying I have to stop and do it immediately – more that my brain has to be open to that type of thinking. This year it HAS come together in January, but it doesn’t always.

Also, I don’t always write my goals in a certain way or format, and they definitely aren’t always SMART (Specific, Measureable, Acheivable, Realistic and Time constrained) in any way that would be recognisable to a project manager. This year, my personal goals have taken the form of two sets of images that mean things to me. The first is about my aim to be “fitter, stronger, healthier and happier” by this time next year  – and some ideas of how to get there, but the precise meaning of the terms is broad. This image is on the wall by my bed so I see it at least twice a day. I will also print a wallet sized card to carry with me.

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The second goal, or resolution, is actually represented by a “word for the year”. This year, my word is “Energy”. We have a tendency in my house to focus on tiredness and I would love to focus more on energy (in the hope of creating some). Also, I recognise that my “energy” or mood affects others and so by changing my own attitude I might influence other people. The images for this word represent things that hopefully will top up my energy bank.

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I am backing up these “goals” with a habit tracker reminding me to drink more water, move more, get more sleep and say something positive to my loved ones every day. All things that should contribute to my aim and relate to my word of the year.

Whilst images are inspiring for my personal goals, my business goals for this year seem to feel stronger when written as words and lists, and are definitely SMART-er.

What matters is having something to aim for, whether you call it a goal, a mission or a resolution. Words, images, numbers, feelings, the “right” way to do it is whatever works for you. The things described in this blog feel right to me for this year. And that is what will give me the best chance of achieving my goals.

Happy New Year!

coaching, Inspiration

Thinking

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Rowers emerging from the early morning mist on the Thames near Henley Business College. Photo by Ellie Highwood, February 2019

It is often difficult to find the time to think properly.  It can feel like a luxury when there is so much going on in our lives. Some people use journal writing, others art, or music. Coaching is about giving you the time and space to do your best thinking. Your thoughts about your issues will always be the most useful and illuminating. Like these rowers emerging from the early morning mist, coaching can help your thoughts come into the sunshine, where you can use them to move you onwards towards your destination. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes about thinking that resonate for me in the context of coaching:

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking” – Voltaire

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself” – Plato

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it” Henry Ford

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” – William Shakespeare

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking” – Marcus Aurelius

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” – Isaac Asimov

Please get in touch if you would like to try coaching as a way of thinking things through. No decision or challenge is too big or too small.

Ellie