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Setting Great Goals

It is important for me to talk to you about goal setting. Not just because it is the New Year – there is never a perfect time to set a goal…but if there was a time the New Year is a very natural time to do so…It is important I talk about goal setting because this is the first step to you achieving your health and wellbeing dreams, especially in regards to your nutrition. This is the fuel you provide your body, your growing baby’s body and your children’s bodies with. Change is DARN HARD. Even for those that you think it comes easy for. As human beings we resist change. Your nutrition and health goals may be big or small. It really does not matter (and who gets to say they are big or small anyway) – what matters is how you go about achieving them. So let’s start today. Working in the health industry for over 10 years now I have seen it all when it comes to goal setting. Being a highly goal-orientated myself I have learnt a few tricks in regards to setting great goals here are my top tips: 1. CREATE - You first must create a goal. This can often be the hardest step. So just do it. “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” ~ Zig Ziglar 2. ACTION - Take action on your goal immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week. Right now. If you do not do something right now, trust me next week will NEVER happen. It can be what seems like a small action. Action is Action!! For example one of my 3 big goals this year is to complete my PhD. I actually need some time to first be able to plan how this will happen across 12 months. As soon as I set this goal I immediately asked my husband if we could get some help with Arjun over following days in order for me to have some thinking and planning time for this. Now I have time and I cannot back out! 3. SHARE - You must share your goals. A 'secret' goal is not a goal. You only have yourself for support and at any time you can let yourself off the hook! Share your goals with as many people as you can. You never know who just may be able to help you along the way. Be prepared though for judgement, for those to say “you can’t”…and promptly ignore them! 4. MAKE A PLAN -In order to have any hope of achieving your goal you will need a bit of a plan. This plan may include time, money, people to talk to, deadlines, milestones, mini-goals or all of these together! Plans change and can be flexible but you cannot just expect that things will just ‘happen’. “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” ~ Pablo Picasso 5. FEEL IT - This is straight from the 'law of attraction'. Imagining and ‘feeling’ what life will be like when you have achieved your goal is very important to your success. There are many different ways that you can do this. For example, creating a dream board with photographs or images and having it somewhere you can see every day or making a list of recipe books you would like to buy and having this on the fridge. It creates a feeling which I liken to when you are setting up your baby’s nursery and picking up little baby clothes.... So go on have some fun with it!! Ok my turn! On New Years Eve this year my husband and I actually stayed up for the big clock strike at midnight (watching old movies!). We set three major goals each – right there and then at midnight and these were:
  1. A Business/Career Goal
  2. A Personal Goal
  3. A Family Goal
These are not our ONLY goals but our top priority goals – our goals which will shake us up, the goals that, to be honest we cannot see the top of the mountain of. Why am I sharing these? That is all part of achieving your goals. Declaring them to others, letting those around you know what you are up to this year. It will help to create a level of support, and more importantly, commitment. That is why we DO NOT share goals. We are afraid of failure. We are afraid of being criticised, judged, talked about. Have I experienced this – you bet I have. I know that what our family is doing this year is considered out of the realm of ‘normal’. No I am not taking a year off with our baby. In fact, I am not even taking 3 months off – possibly a week (possibility). But to me work and life are part of the same continuum. Ever since I was 20, I had a dream to be able to work from home, run a business and be a mum. It has taken me some time to get here with a few failures along the way but this is exactly what I am doing. It just looks a little different to probably what I thought it would at 20 (especially a lot less sleep!!) But this is what we have created for ourselves. It is not because I HAVE to but because I CHOOSE to and I feel that I CAN. I actually feel privileged to have this choice. To be able to create a way to keep my career ambitions alive and grow a family. It is hard, without question. Does it take enormous sacrifice, of course. Is it worth it, absolutely. And nothing is set in stone. If it really does not work I know we have the ability to change things. So here they are:
  1. Business/Career Goal – Finish my PhD!!!
I have one more year of funding from the Heart Foundation to finish my PhD. The stage I am at is to finish analysing my enormous data set, write 4 published articles and a 70,000 word thesis. Your typical PhD student takes a solid 6 months off just to write their thesis (with no children). I did do my first year of my PhD, including gruelling data collection with Arjun when he was a new born, plus I worked. What I do not know is how to do this with a toddler, a new born, running a business, maintaining my Head Tutor position at Fit College, being a wife (and preferably a good wife at that), and keep a house hold going….did I forget something? Maybe sleeping, showering?? Now THAT I really DO NOT KNOW and it seems my Mt Everest of the academic world just became MT Everest in the peak of a storm. The HOW part? Well….I have done a 12 month plan from Jan-Dec this year. And then broken it down into weekly tasks or at least weekly time periods. If I do not give it a crack I will never know what I am capable of. What I do know about climbing a mountain – is that every step counts AND some movement is better than no movement at all.
  1. Personal Goal
This is critical. Do I WANT to include it. NO. Is it a priority. YES. This was one of my biggest learnings from last year. Again it is along those lines of working smarter not harder. Last year I almost hit burn out. And creating some Me-Time was what saved me. I went to yoga on a Saturday morning for an hour. My wonderful husband also looked after our 2 year old in the morning (took him to soccer) so in effect I had Sat morning to myself. It did not work out 100% of the time but 98% was pretty darn good. So I have set the same goal this year to have a scheduled 1 hour per week to myself (I think a whole morning will be pushing it, especially with a new born and working). I am not sure exactly what I will be doing in this hour. It may even simply be going to have a coffee somewhere and read a good book.
  1. Family Goal
My family is my brick foundation. Without it, I cannot build anything. We cannot build anything. It is so important to me that my husband and children are happy or else nothing else matters. My family goal this year is to really, honestly enjoy the small things. Children are a challenge but all you need is one moment, one minute and all the rest is forgotten. I want the time I have with my children and husband to be cherished. To be 100% there, in the moment. I am a glass half empty type personality. My husband the total opposite – spontaneous, glass half-full. So it is a real challenge for me to just stop, take life in the slow-lane and enjoy the moment. How am I going to do this – they only way that works for me – to schedule it in, so that eventually it becomes natural. For now we have Sundays as dedicated family time. It will mean unplugging from electronics completely. I will also schedule a holiday or little weekend away mid-year with my husband and the end of my PhD a holiday away with our children. In the chaos of the year I worry this will all get forgotten but creating a goal is the first step J. What are your goals this year? What hopes and dreams do you have? Think about some of the steps in this blog which can help and the people who can help you along the way :) Xxx The New Mum’s Nutritionist

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