Learning with NatWest

Tips to help you get started with your goals

What's your goal?

Whether big or small, we all have things we’d like to achieve. It could be to find a new job, make new friends, be more in control of your money, do more to protect the environment.


We’re all different in what we’d like to do. But we are all united in the fact that our goals are usually grounded in a genuine motivation to make life better for ourselves and the people around us. Whatever you want to achieve, making realistic goals and finding ways to keep on track will help you get there.


Hear from Olympic diver Yona Knight-Wisdom to discover his best advice for setting goals and discover five tips to help you get started below.


Think about your 'big' goal

Write down what you want in simple terms. Visualise what life will be like once you achieve your goal. How will you feel? What will you do?

For example:

My big goal: I want to be fitter.

How I’ll feel: I’ll no longer feel out of breath when I climb the stairs. I’ll feel more energised and everyday tasks will feel easier.

What I’ll do: I’ll be able to take part when my friends ask me to go running without feeling like I’m holding them back. I’ll be able to join a local running club and meet new people.

Break this big goal down into smaller mini goals

There are all sorts of ways for you to achieve your big goal. Some ways will be appealing to you, others will not. It’s important to be specific about the ways you will achieve your goal so that it becomes realistic and exciting to you.

For example, if you’d like to be fitter, that might mean to you that you want to be able to run 5k in under 30 minutes. It could mean you want to be able to climb your local hill in under an hour. Maybe you want to swim 10 lengths of your local pool in under 20 minutes?

Think about what’s right for you. 

Make your goals SMART

Build out your goals by making them SMART. It helps to make them crystal clear. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time bound. 

Get planning

Now that you are clear on your SMART goals, break these down further into activities each day or week. Ensure they are SMART too. For example, if you find a 5k training plan online, it may tell you activities to do each day to help you get there. Book these into your calendar at times you can accommodate.

If you miss an activity, look at how you can adapt your plans. 

Think about how you'll stay accountable

At times your motivation will dip. You might get unwell. It’s important not to let these things discourage you. You can always get back on track after a bad day or week. Consistency is key.

  • Think about a person who can check in with you about your progress. Perhaps you have a friend or family member with a similar goal to share ideas with? A personal trainer can help you to stay on track and give ideas to help you make progress.
  • Some people like to post their progress on social media so that they have a wider audience of people cheering them on and sharing ideas.
  • Perhaps there is an app related to your goal to help you record your progress and give you push notifications and reminders.
  • Make time to reflect each week on your progress. Celebrate any wins and think about anything you’ve learned to help you move forward.

Goal planner

Use these questions and template to help you define and plan out your goals.

PDF: 5 mins

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