It’s not always easy setting goals and making a commitment to an outcome. Ultimately, the benefit to our psychological wellbeing is well worth the effort of ‘putting ourselves out there’, that we’re aiming for something specific. That moment of experiencing achievement makes us feel good about ourselves. It can help to build our confidence towards trying the next task, activity or bigger challenge too. If combined with the colours of nature, fresh air and the sounds of wildlife around you, you have the perfect outdoor pharmacy. The trinity of success, exercise AND the outdoors. You can’t get a more uplifting soul food than that!
June Daily Jaunt
Last month, I set about working towards a new goal – that of ensuring I walked at least one mile every day during the month of June. I planned it, made myself a bingo sheet to follow, with a different style of walk to do each day and announced it publicly. Over the month, instead of the minimum of thirty miles, I clocked up 103 miles of walking, which included a hefty thirty-two mile walk on day twelve. The final day was a whole lot of fun, walking in fancy dress (as the Queen of Hearts!) I can thoroughly recommend it. More details about the June Daily Jaunt Challenge is here. I will update the page soon with photos of each day. If you head over to my Instagram page, there are more images there.
Action for Happiness
Although I have my own methods of ensuring my goals are met, I wanted to explore more about how others go about it. As a teacher, I have been helping teenagers set their own goals for more than fifteen years and I know there are tried and tested ways in education to ensure success. In reading around the topic of setting goals in general terms, I stumbled across the Action for Happiness website. They advocate the mindset of regularly working towards ten key points or ‘keys’ towards happier living. These include looking after ourselves and doing things for others. Being aware and remaining curious, fostering a resilient attitude, being positive and accepting of ourselves also feature as key points. Ensuring we have meaning in our lives gives us a purpose and the sense that life is not just about us. The contribution to community or society is a bigger picture that gives back such great rewards when we volunteer our efforts. This leads us to personal direction. Setting, working towards, and looking forward to a goal is officially one of the ways we can help ourselves to stay happy.
These key points conveniently spell out the words, ‘GREAT DREAM’. Who doesn’t love a good acronym? They used to irritate me but now I value acronyms, as they help me remember many useful points and anecdotes!
Many people wait until December in which to begin setting their goals for the coming year. Unfortunately, many often find that within the first two weeks or so of January their new routines have fallen by the wayside. New Year resolutions have never been particularly easy to maintain. I believe it shouldn’t just be left until the start of a year, but instead worked on all year through. Despite saying this, I did keep to my resolution of following a vegan diet during the month of January 2021. I was pleased to have continued until the middle of May, which I hadn’t planned! Feeling great in myself I lost half a stone and was happy in the knowledge that I was helping the environment. I’ll admit I caved at my 50th birthday however but at this point, I felt ready to become a little more ‘flexitarian’. I’m still cooking vegan and vegetarian meals a couple of times per week but have wholly enjoyed the journey.
Let’s relate this to setting adventure goals then. I have always been the type of person to dream lots about future plans and regularly have multiple goals on the go. Dreams cannot become a reality unless you set yourself a specific goal. This should include a realistic set of criteria that allows you to establish exactly how that goal will be met. SMART targets are the first place to start. I talk about the definition of these in greater detail in my last blog, Making Your Dream a Reality.
With my podcast launch goal ahead of me, this week I recorded an interview with a fascinating woman. She knows first-hand how to go about setting goals and does so with incredible efficiency. In fact, she’s written a book about the subject: Live Your Bucket List: Simple Steps to Ignite Your Dreams, Face Your Fears and Lead an Extraordinary Life, Starting Today. Julia Goodfellow-Smith is a self-confessed organiser-extraordinaire. So much so, she has realised and harnessed this as her superpower.
I was privileged to read Julia’s book, prior to publication on 27th June 2021, and was taken by the wealth of planning advice she offers. There are even multiple templates to download to support the process. Julia takes you through, step-by-step how to go about setting goals, planning and ultimately seeing your dream become a reality. She draws upon her 2020 adventure experience of walking the South West Coast Path and relays personal stories referencing each waymarker along your own planning journey.
Make Goals a Habit
Setting goals that will lead to successful outcomes need not be a daunting process. The more you set goals as a habit, the less likely you are to lose sight of them if you decide to make New Year resolutions. If you really don’t know where to start, take a leaf out of Julia’s book. In fact, don’t just take a leaf – read it! I can guarantee you will find some adventure pearls of wisdom lurking around every page.
Julia’s book is available on Amazon here, in both Kindle and print copy format. If you would like to explore more of Julia’s background, you can find her on Instagram and Facebook. You can also head directly to her website, www.juliags.com.