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Setting Goals That Stick: Part VII

Posted on March 11th, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | 2 Comments | Print | RSS

In previous blogs we’ve looked at the process of setting SMART goals. SMART goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant
Timely

In this, the final blog in this series, we will look at making them SMARTER.

SMART becomes SMARTER

Later workers in the area of goal setting have extended the idea of SMART goals to making them SMARTER. The additional letters stand for:

Evaluate
Re-evaluate

The Scottish poet Robert Burns in his 1785 poem “To a Mouse” put it nicely:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,

Gang aft agley,

An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,

For promis’d joy!

The loose translation of which is: Things don’t go according to plan and you get hurt.

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Setting Goals That Stick: Part VI

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In these blogs we have been discussing SMART goals. These goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

In this blog we look at making them:

Timely

Dreams aren’t goals. Dreams are missing something to make them a goal.

To turn a dream into a goal it needs a date.

Dates have urgency. Dates are real. By setting a date to achieve a goal you make yourself accountable. Setting a date – and don’t ever forget to include the year when you set the date – means you can set a schedule for making it happen and put daily tasks or processes in place to make sure it does.

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Setting Goals That Stick: Part V

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In previous blogs of this series we talked about setting SMART goals. To once again refresh your memory SMART goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

We are up to discussing how to make a SMART goal:

Relevant

There is no point setting a goal if it doesn’t mean something to you. A goal you set for yourself has to have some fire in it, something with a strong draw or desire. It needs to be something you have a burning desire to attain or something you aren’t happy about and want to change or stop.

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Setting Goals That Stick: Part IV

Posted on February 18th, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In the first three blogs of this series we talked about setting SMART goals. These goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

In previous blogs we discussed how to make a goal Specific and Measurable. In this blog we look at making them:

Attainable

Any goal you set for yourself has to be more than something you think you can achieve. It has to be something you believe you deserve. We’ll say more on this second, very important point later. For now, let’s focus on making sure it is a goal you can both achieve and control.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution of running three Ultra-Marathons before the end of January when you’ve never run before and don’t own a pair of decent running shoes is just unrealistic. It is a goal you cannot possibly achieve because you’re not ready.

Likewise, winning the lottery or picking the numbers in the top prize pool is not a goal as the only control you have over it is how many tickets you buy! Achieving a goal isn’t due to good luck; it’s about good management.

So with the simple stuff out of the way, let’s look at the idea a goal has to be something you believe you deserve.

Remember the buzz a few years ago about writing positive affirmations and sticking them all around the house: On the fridge; on the bathroom mirror; on the wardrobe in the bedroom. “I am strength.” “I am abundant.” “I am loved.” “I have self esteem.” The idea was by the power of conscious will you could speak to and reprogram the subconscious mind to give you what you desired. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way because your subconscious mind is much more powerful and has more control over your life than your conscious mind does. Much more…

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Setting Goals That Stick: Part III

Posted on February 9th, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In the first two blogs of this series we talked about setting SMART goals. To refresh your memory these goals were:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant

Timely

In the last blog we talked about how to make a goal Specific. In this blog we look at the second requirement on the list:

Measurable

A goal is not a goal unless you have some way of knowing how far away from achieving it you are or when you have achieved it. You know this by asking and answering the questions: How Much? How Many? How Often?

What is the end point for your goal? Can you picture yourself in that situation? Can you define a specific event or action, which means, without any doubt, you have achieved your goal?

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Setting Goals That Stick: Part II

Posted on February 3rd, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In the first of this series of blogs we talked about setting SMART goals. SMART goals were:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

Let’s start at the top of the list on how to make your goals:

Specific

Often the goals we set ourselves are too wishy washy or have no clear focus. Let’s say for example, you want to:

“Get better grades”

This is not a particularly useful goal. It’s too imprecise: How much better? In what subjects? Over what time period? For what purpose? How will you do it?

“I want to raise my grade average in all subjects by 15 points before the end of the next semester”

While this is a big improvement, it’s still not specific enough because it doesn’t say anything about how.
To make the goal truly specific it needs to answer six critical “W” questions:

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Setting Goals That Stick: Part I

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

Here you are, one month into 2014 and despite the best of intentions you are still 10 kilograms / 20 pounds overweight and haven’t run any of the three Ultra-Marathons you said you would by the end of January.

How weak. How pathetic. Another load of good intentions down the drain. Another year you’ve let yourself go. Another year of lame excuses, no will power and no determination. But before you beat yourself up about it and give up on your health goals for 2014, let’s ask the question: Did you fail or did your goals fail you?

You’re kidding right? I’m the one who failed! I set the goal on New Year’s Day and I didn’t keep it. I’m weak. I’m soft. I’ve got no staying power. No wonder I’m fat. No wonder no one finds me attractive. No wonder I’m stuck in a job I don’t like. No wonder I’m – insert the thing you like least about yourself here

So why do our New Year’s Resolutions only end up as a To Do list for the first week of January? Why don’t they stick? Why don’t we use them to become the people we would want to be? Do we all have willing minds but weak bodies?

Well what if the goal you set on January 1 with the best will in the world was one you could never meet? What if the goal itself meant you were doomed to fail?

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Organic vs Conventional foods: Part 3 – Safer for you?

Posted on December 30th, 2012 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In the first part of this blog (3) we looked at the argument over the Stanford study (1) on whether organic foods are healthier or safer for you than their conventional alternatives. Four key claims were made:

  1. Organically produced foods are no more nutritious for you than those produced using conventional agricultural methods.
  2. Organically grown produce does have higher levels of certain nutrients than conventionally grown foods.
  3. Organic produce has less pesticide contamination than conventionally grown crops.
  4. Organic foods contain less antibiotic-resistant bacteria than do conventionally grown foods.

In the second part of this blog (6), we looked at the first of these categories: ‘Healthier for you’ – points 1. and 2. on this list – and discovered how difficult a question it was to answer. In this, the final part of this blog, we will look at the last claim made for the Stanford study: Organic food is safer for you. These are points 3. and 4. on the above list.

While it is very difficult to say organic food is healthier for you, we are on much firmer ground when asking whether it is safer for you. Here the evidence is much clearer and the interpretation much easier and cleaner.

Before going into the discussion however I need to give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a scientist.

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Organic vs Conventional foods: Part 2 – Healthier for you?

Posted on November 30th, 2012 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

In the first part of this blog (3) we looked at the argument over the Stanford study (1) on whether organic foods are healthier or safer for you than their conventional alternatives. You will recall there were four key claims made:

  1. Organically produced foods are no more nutritious for you than those produced using conventional agricultural methods.
  2. Organically grown produce does have higher levels of certain nutrients than conventionally grown foods.
  3. Organic produce has less pesticide contamination than conventionally grown crops.
  4. Organic foods contain less antibiotic-resistant bacteria than do conventionally grown foods.

In this blog we will look at the first of these categories: Healthier for you.

For this discussion, healthier for you means the nutritional content of organically grown food compared to those grown using conventional methods. These are points 1. and 2. on the above list.

In the Promoting Good Health publication “Organic Food: A Guide for Consumers“, we discuss how difficult it is to come to a sensible conclusion on whether organic food is more nutritious for you (2). Given the media flurry over the Stanford study, we need to again discuss why this seemingly simple question is very difficult to answer.

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Organic vs Conventional foods: Part 1 – Which is better?

Posted on October 31st, 2012 by Stephen Hardy | No Comments | Print | RSS

You may have noticed the heated debate that took place in the media recently over whether organically grown food was better for you than food grown by conventional means.

One side loudly proclaimed organic food was better for you because it had higher levels of particular nutrients and wasn’t contaminated with harmful pesticides or antibiotic resistant bacteria. The other side was saying just as loudly organic food was a waste of money, no better for you than conventionally grown food and you shouldn’t have to pay the premium prices for organic food if there was no benefit. And this battle for our hearts, minds and wallets was being raged everywhere you looked. It was splashed across TV, on the radio, in magazines, the print media and on countless websites. It went on for weeks.

As someone with more than a passing interest and a fair bit of background knowledge on the subject (we’ve previously written a book about it), I took a keen interest in the debate. One of the reasons I found the whole thing amusing was each camp was so adamant in their statements, so dismissive of the other sides point of view.

But the crazy thing and something not obvious to the casual observer, was both sides were quoting the same scientific study – a report from Stanford University in the USA – to prove their point (1). Yes, you did read that right: The SAME study!

Hang on a minute? Both sides are using the SAME scientific study to promote completely opposite points of view? How can this be? Is the study wrong? Is someone being highly selective in what they say? Aren’t they telling the truth? And what is the truth? What does the Stanford study REALLY show and what does it mean for you?

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