So I recently watched Chasing Great which is the movie/documentary which is focussed on the New Zealand All Blacks captain Richie McCaw (this is rugby for those of you who are not familiar). Richie has played the most games of rugby for the All Blacks in history, and is by far the most respected and acknowledged captain. He captained the team to win two consecutive Rugby World Cups which no rugby captain has ever done before. Needless to say he’s a bit of a champ around here!

While I found so many things interesting in the movie, there are a couple of parts that really stood out to me. It’s amazing how a group of people can all watch the same movie but take different ideas from it, or find that certain elements really strike a chord with them. One of the things that stood out for me was Richie’s goal setting when he was just a high school kid wanting to progress his rugby.

They talk about how Richie was having lunch with his uncle one day and his uncle was like, So you want to be an All Black? How are you going to do that? So they wrote down a very brief plan or how he would do it – make the local rep team, get picked for the under 19’s team, trial for the Canterbury team etc etc until it got to Make the All Blacks Team. His uncle then went on to say, so, what are you going to do once you’re an All Black? You can’t be just an All Black, you need to be a Great All Black. Richie was sort of like pfft, what do you mean? What’s the difference? I’m not going to write that down! So they compromised and at the bottom of the plan he wrote GAB. That’ll do.

Long story short Richie ticked off all of these steps quicker than he initially planned. However, being a GAB was always a work in progress. Before every single game he would sit down and write a list of things he was going to focus on – whatever it may be for that particular game. At the end of every list he wrote GAB. Great All Black.

Every single game he still focussed on being a Great All Black.

Setting goals can be a tricky subject. On one hand if there is something you particularly want to achieve or have your heart set on doing, then that is great. You want to be more or do more than what you currently do, and this means different things to different people. On the other hand, if goals are too far-fetched or unrealistic, it can be quite damaging to your motivation and confidence if you do not reach your goal in the time you anticipated. A lot of people will feel pressure to strive to be something better or do something better, which can feel quite demeaning and daunting; while others will flourish in that sort of pressure – they will be focussed and driven and not let anything get in their path.

I think the most important thing to remember here is that you learn how YOU flourish. Try different approaches to reaching whatever it may be that you have in mind, and if something doesn’t work try something else. You will never know what works if you don’t even try in the first place, and then nothing will change. This can be applied to any aspect of your life – perhaps trying a new recipe, studying part time, setting a new personal best run time, changing your sleeping routine, making that next career step or reconciling with an old friend.

Here are some tips that might give you some ideas on how you could start and progress towards reaching your goal/s. Some of these I have tried and some I have just looked up. Remember, if it doesn’t work try something else. You will never know if you don’t try.

- Write it down! My Mum swears by this. Every time I tell her about an idea she says yup write it down, and it will happen. I think an important thing here is to keep reading what it is you write down – keep going back to it and reminding yourself that’s what you want.

- Break the main goal down in the smaller, more achievable steps. Want to open a café one day? Learn how to make coffee. Then do a small business course. Then do some research in the area you want to open it. Etc etc until you feel confident enough that you can take that one final last step of opening a café. The same can go for losing weight – don’t focus on the overall number or size you want to be, instead break it down into smaller steps such as changing one habit a week, eliminating alcohol for at least 6 days a week, commit to 3 workouts a week. These are all small goals that will contribute to you reaching your big goal.

- Set a new goal each week so you don’t get bored. Sometimes working towards one big goal can be too daunting so if you only concentrate on a 7 day period you’re more likely to stick at it. Perhaps if you feel good after that one week you can then decide if you want to continue with that goal or try something else. Last week my goal was to do 4 fat burning walks (which I did! YAY!) but this week I changed it to doing 2 yoga sessions. Both of these things I know nourish my soul, so committing to putting the time aside to do them is beneficial to not only myself but those around me.

- Use the SMART goal setting rules. This means that the goal is:

+ Specific - Be specific in what you want to do or achieve, as opposed to vague and a little unsure.

+ Measurable - Include a date or time. This could be saving a certain amount of money by a certain date, or entering a half marathon.

+ Attainable - This means the goal needs to be realistic. You can't job 100m but want to enter a half marathon in 3 months time? Perhaps try a shorter distance or a run further down the track.

+ Relevant - Keep the goal/s in line with the bigger picture. Do you want to be a dairy farmer? Perhaps don't sign up for a business advising course.

+ Time-bound - Setting dates to achieve goals by can help with the motivation to keep working towards them. Marking days off a calendar or having a countdown timer on your phone can be an easy way to keep track of the deadline.

After considering all of the above, please remember that LIFE happens. No matter how hard you will work towards achieving your goal, there are some things out of your control that might have an influence. This is normal so just go along for the ride, life happens so don't sweat the small stuff.

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