It seems that a lot of people I know are using lockdown to try and achieve something new, such as learning a language, getting fit(ter), or even writing a book.

If you have more time, and you feel like doing something like this, then why not? (Equally, if you don’t feel like it, you definitely shouldn’t feel bad.)

However, I think it’s worth pointing out that goal setting is often not the best way to achieve change.

You might be surprised to hear me say that. Aren’t life coaches all about goal setting?

Not this one.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals per se. It can be a useful way of seeing progress when you look back, and it can be motivating.

However, setting a goal is not in itself the way to achieve a good outcome. People are often surprised that deciding that they’re going to run 5 miles a day or lose a stone by the summer or whatever doesn’t then automatically make it happen. Goal setting can also be counter-productive if you don’t meet your goal and then hate yourself, or meet it once, and then slip back into your old ways.

It doesn’t matter how SMART your goal is, the only way to effect real change is to change the tiny little decisions you make every day, hour and minute.

In terms of something like getting fitter that might mean decisions to walk up the stairs to get something, or to spend a break from work hula-hooping, instead of staring into the fridge and so on, until you have created new habits and ways of behaving.

If you find it hard to make these changes, and have tried and failed before, it will probably also mean taking an honest look at how and why you sabotage yourself, and making deeper changes in your beliefs and mindset.

Ultimately, it’s the process that matters, not the end goal.

And this is the case whether we’re looking at getting fitter, giving up smoking or being able to say no to too much work.