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Setting goals is important for success and personal development. They motivate us, add to our quality of life, and introduce us to new skills and competencies. How could there possibly be any problems with doing that? Let’s have a look at some of the problems and issues that can arise from setting goals.




What criteria do you use to set a goal?

Landmarks are often used as the rationale behind setting a goal.
People may be newly single, have been made redundant or reached a significant birthday and is determined to reinvent themself. There can be many factors that influence our goal setting. For some people it is about money and the requirement to earn, for others they may want to freshen up their image or do something that was always a dream. Often the desire for a better quality of life and inner satisfaction are major motivators at these times. Sometimes though it is important to stop and do our homework first, investigate the reasons behind our decisions and understand what we are letting ourselves in for before we rush into something new.




Whose voice do you hear when you set yourself a goal?

Some people come to realize that they choose their endeavors and goals in life based on the hopes, dreams and approval of others.
The approval of parents, teachers, and loved ones can be a major factor in deciding which direction to take in life. Often parents want the best for the children and this frequently equates to good academic success and a professional career. This can be problematic for the more creative, artistic child who may shelve its own desires in a desperate bid for approval. Coming to realize that for most parents, seeing their children happy and content whether they are a gardener or a brain surgeon can take a while to be appreciated and acknowledged.




How do you ensure a balance between the various areas of life?

One problem is that goals can become all consuming. It is important to commit with enthusiasm to a goal; after all there is no point in doing something half-heartedly. But balance is the key to performing well and the fact is that everyone works better when they have a healthy balance between family, friends and personal life as well as work. The reality is that people return to their work with renewed inspiration and vigor after they have had a break. Even if it means simply stopping for food or a visit to the gym, a break helps to alleviate stress, think of something else for a time and then return to the task in hand with a calmer, clearer focus.



How do you measure success?

On occasion it can be difficult to decide when a goal has been reached. If it is climbing Everest or running a marathon it is straightforward to measure what has been achieved. But for some goals, success is a more nebulous result. Often projects change and evolve over time. The outcome can become more fluid as new angels emerge and a different or modified direction is taken. Goals can motivate as they evolve, but it is also important to take stock and value what has been done and achieved along the way too.




Setting goals can lift us out of our comfort zone and introduce some positive stress into our life. Ensuring that we use goals to motivate us while keeping a healthy balance in our life helps us to stay on track and enjoy the opportunity they provide to enhance and improve our life.


By Susan Leigh 



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Many people wish that they could hibernate during the winter months. The dark evenings, cold weather and lack of sunlight make them wish that they could curl up into a ball and only emerge after three months or so.


But there is another way to look at winter. There are ways to turn that negative attitude into something more pleasant and enjoyable. Let us look at ways to have a more positive mindset about the winter months:


- Winter is a time for comfort food. Soups, stews and casseroles all come into their own at this time of year. Why not organize the slow cooker in the morning and then when you return home from work at night there is a lovely, tasty meal ready and waiting for you. The home has a welcoming feel to it when you know you are coming home to a hearty, healthy dinner.


- Outdoors pursuits can be fun. Most people are fine about wrapping up warm. Just adding a few layers, a vest, jumper, scarf and a woolly hat and gloves can make for a comfortable time outside. Layers can be added or removed with relative ease. Family walks can be something that everyone can be enthusiastic about. Children love kicking their way through leaves, dragging a sledge up a hill or building a snowman. And long winter walks are a treat when you know that you are coming home to a mug of hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine.



- The garden has its own winter face. The family can be involved in clearing away old vegetation and leaves. Some plants can be added to the garden so that they come into blossom over winter or early spring. After a bracing hour in the garden it can be lovely to come inside to a warm cosy house with toasted crumpets and a hot drink.


- Home can have a cosy, winter feel to it. Some people have lighter curtains for summer and heavier, thicker ones for winter. It can be a time to add autumn and winter colours. Reds, burnt orange and warm, rich shades are lovely for bringing a snug feeling to a room. If you have an open fire, pinecones can burn beautifully and make a room feel especially homely.


- Lighting needs to be right on dark evenings. Lamps, wall lights and candles can bring a comfortable mood into a room. Add a dimmer switch to overhead lighting so that it is muted and not too bright.


- Bring out the indoor games. Boards games and cards are great fun for a family evening together. Friends can enjoy getting involved in an afternoon marathon of various indoor games. Dominoes, cards, maybe even charades can all be revived as the winter evenings look to be enjoyed with friends and family.


- Even just enjoying an afternoon reading or watching films can be a good way to spend some time. It can be lovely having the excuse that it is too cold or wet to do anything else.

By Susan Leigh

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