Being stuck at home is a challenge for many. Some people are stressed because their routines and activities have disappeared. Others are desperately trying to juggle the home office and childcare. To support people in these difficult times, my wonderful boss, Katja, and I responded to a call from the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science, and Research to produce videos giving psychological advice for daily life in quarantine.
Our video emphasizes the importance of goals for happy moments in everyday life and provides tips for setting goals and achieving them. These tips are not only useful in times of coronavirus. They can be applied in any situation where you want to experience successes and/or reach a specific goal.
This video is actually a first for me (and Katja). We made it spontaneously and quickly to answer this call and… well… how can I say… it’s really homemade. We wrote, recorded and produced it all at home and without any experience of this kind of thing. This is the best exercise to develop humility and learn to overcome my perfectionism (Argh!). I hope you will find something useful in it. If you want to skip the video, you will find the full text below. Enjoy and stay well!
Here you can find the German version of the video.
Hello, I’m Professor Corcoran and I am Dr. Kedia. We are social psychologists at the University of Graz and, like many of you, we are currently doing home office. This can be quite stressful. Some are stressed because routines and activities have disappeared. Others are desperately trying to manage home office and childcare in parallel. In these challenging times, it is not easy to experience positive moments. Today, we would like to give you a few tips to help you have some good moments by experiencing success.
Success occurs when we achieve goals. It simply feels good to master a task or to do things one has been wanting to do for a while. For example, I recently launched my own blog, which I have been working on for a long time. Now I am very happy with the result. But achieving goals does not only make us feel good. We grow with our goals and develop with them. Each time we reach a goal, our self-confidence also increases. That is why goals are important for your well-being and for your personal development. Today, we want to encourage you to continue to set personal goals, even in these unusual times. This is the best way to experience the sense of happiness associated with reaching your goal.
Now you might think “I have set many goals for myself and haven’t achieved them – it’s quite frustrating”. That’s right! Achieving goals is great, failing at them not so much. But, don’t worry, that’s exactly why we are here. We want to support you in setting the right goals and we also have a few tricks up our sleeves to make it work. Just join in and set a goal together with us right now!
What’s your goal?
The first step is to set the right goal. Goals can be very different. Some are important and can only be achieved with a great deal of effort and time. Others are smaller and can be achieved right away. Think briefly about what you want to achieve today or this week. Now, choose one goal. It is important to choose a goal that is both specific and measurable. For example, instead of saying “I want to do more sports this week”, say “I want to do 3×30 minutes of sports this week”. This is the only way to know if you have reached your goal.
Okay, does everyone have a goal? Then think now about why you want to achieve that goal. Is it maybe one step on the way to a bigger goal? Or is it something that is good for you and you still do it far too rarely? Imagine how satisfied you will be when you have reached your goal. Enjoy this moment now.
What are the obstacles?
But wait a minute! It’s not enough to wallow in a rosy future. The path to that future can be fraught with obstacles. What could prevent you from reaching that goal? Is it a lack of time or other people distracting you? Why have you not achieved this or similar goals in the past? The more you are aware of the obstacles, the better you can prepare yourself to overcome them. For now, it is enough if you are aware of one or two obstacles, but in general, it is worth thinking about it more intensely.
At this point, you may realize that there are really many obstacles and that your goal seems out of reach. Then you should adjust your goal. Ideally, goals are challenging but achievable. Sometimes one has to trap oneself a little. If you have often failed at your goals in the past and are already downhearted, then you should start with very small goals. Goals where you really can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t achieve them. For example, this could be one push-up a day in order to finally do sports regularly. You will see that your goals will then develop on their own. But that’s not all, we have more tips that will help to achieve your goal.
„If – then“ sentence
Think carefully about when and where you want to achieve your goal. Formulate a concrete “if – then” sentence and write this sentence down. For example: “If I’m finished clearing the breakfast table on Monday, then I will start with my yoga exercises.” And yes, it is important that you really write the sentence! Pause the video for a moment and write the sentence – on a piece of paper or on your mobile phone. This sentence will help you remember that you want to work on your goal as soon as the moment comes.
Finally, we would like to encourage you to mindfully enjoy the moment of goal achievement. Don’t think about what you will do next during the yoga exercise. Live in the moment and rejoice in reaching your goal. Be proud – even of small successes. Pick up the note with the “if-then” sentence and always make a mark on it when you have completed your yoga exercises on Monday. This will make your small successes visible.
In a nutshell…
Here’s a list of all the steps:
- Set a specific goal
- Think about the WHY
- Imagine goal achievement
- Be aware of obstacles
- Write down your „if-then“ sentence
- Enjoy goal achievement
These steps will help you achieve your goals, give you the strength to pursue greater goals and approach life in a positive way.
That’s it from us for today. Thank you very much for joining us. We wish you pleasure and success with the achievement of your goals!
Cover picture: Johannes Rapprich from Pexels