This week we discussed goal setting and how to judge our goals in terms of how achievable and realistic they are.
Many goals that we set for ourselves are "macro goals" - i.e. far to big and lofty to be achieved - I want to stop bingeing. Or they are "concept goals" - i.e. are based on a wish or an aspiration that has nothing to do with concrete behaviour or action - I want to lose a stone.
Key learning from this evening's session is about reducing goals right down so that they are "action oriented" - e.g. "I will go for a walk tonight", and realistically time limited - " I am not going to eat chocolate today".
FAILING AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Failing to achieve a goal is a learning experience - what happened that prevented me from achieving my goal? All information is useful and informs us about what we can do differently the next time.
Setting unrealistic and unachievable goals allows us to keep beating ourselves up about how useless we are, it feeds the negative voice. Using the goal setting handout allows you to begin checking your goals for achieveability and reality - can I actually do this?
GETTING IN YOUR OWN WAY
Another key learning is the sometimes bizarre nature of the thoughts and rules we have internalised and see as reasonable and logical in our heads. Being able to tune in more to your own internalised rules and messages is another way of gathering valuable information on how you may be getting in your own way of achieving goals. E.g. having rigid rules, not knowing what "normal" is, understanding how your aspirations or wishes for yourself are realistically at odds with who you are - all these internalised rules and messages are keeping you stuck in your negative behaviours and feeding your critical voice.
THE NEGATIVE VOICE
The more awareness you have of the internal negative voice, the more you can separate it out from yourself and begin to challenge it. A suggestion from the group was to put a face or name on it, preferably of someone you don't like. Visualise this person sitting on your shoulder talking into your ear - this helps you see it as something separate that you can talk back to.
Concentrating on your failures and faults feeds the voice. Setting realistic and achieveable goals will give you successes that you can focus on and build upon.
Feel free to comment on this blog during the week, and take care of yourselves.
Emma Murphy is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist working with clients struggling with food and/or body image, in Sandyford South Dublin.
All All Or Nothing Thinking Failing As A Learning Experience Family Atmosphere Family Attitudes Family Attitude To Hurt/Pain Family Attitude To Mistakes Family Expectations Family Maps/Genograms Fear Of What We Might Find Out Getting In Your Own Way Goal Setting Realistic Goals The Negative Voice We All Feel The Same Distresses