Andrea McLean column: How to set goals for long-term success

PUBLISHED: 15:29 22 May 2020

Andrea, enjoying time out of the house and her favourtie coffee at Hadley's in Ashtead

Andrea, enjoying time out of the house and her favourtie coffee at Hadley's in Ashtead


Live, learn and thrive with Andrea McLean and Nick Feeney in the latest instalment of their exclusive column | Photo credit: Andy Newbold

This article was written prior to lockdown so information on any businesses mentioned should be checked before your visit

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, which to me seems a little drastic. I’d say that the road of life is littered with great ideas that never quite get around to happening.

We have all done it – kick started the year with enthusiasm for fitness goals, a new job, new relationship, new you... Then, by now, a third of the way through, we realise the whole thing is exhausting and we’d rather just watch telly.

Nick and I have very different ideas when it comes to goal-setting and while they are both done with the best of intentions, it can be tricky finding common ground. Nick is a ‘leap out of bed before the alarm has even finished it’s first beep’ guy and has done his morning exercises before I’ve properly come to.

He likes structure, plans, grids, charts, goals, time scales, tick lists. I write lists that I forget to check, I only realise the fridge is empty when I open it to cook dinner and I get my work done two seconds before deadline, annoyed that yet again I’m under pressure, but also kind of loving the adrenaline of it all.

It’s yin and yang at its finest and, while this sometimes leads to tension, it also brings a huge amount of creativity. I see it as the ingredients for the perfect meal.

It would be boring if you only ate food that kept you alive because it had all the right nutrients – you need to add some spice, some salt, some sweet, to make the whole thing enjoyable, as well as practical.

All of us dream of doing things differently sometimes, that’s why we set ourselves goals and targets and get swept away by the idea of how things could be. But dreaming isn’t enough; they aren’t ever going to come true unless there are some plans put in place and stuck to.

Nick and I are as guilty of this as anyone; our grand plans to go to dance classes last month fell by the wayside twice, as life and terrible weather got in the way.

But we finally made it to Richmond and spent the evening surrounded by other novices struggling to walk forwards, backwards and count to three at the same time.

We also planned to join a gym but haven’t got around to it. I had a full week where I didn’t write down my goals, my targets, my plans but I still made it to all my appointments and did everything that I wanted to do, I just didn’t write it down. The world didn’t spin off its axis, life carried on, it was all OK…

Good intentions are just that – intentions. We can get so hung up on getting things right, doing everything that we are ‘supposed’ to do, in the way someone else has decided is the way we are ‘supposed’ to do it, that we can end up not doing anything at all.

So have your dreams, set your goals but if the road to getting there gets tangled and messy with half-finished intentions littering the way – don’t sweat it. You’ll get there eventually, wherever it is that you are meant to be.

Live: Our biggest challenge when it comes to working from home is leaving the house. I don’t play golf, so I don’t have the excuse that Nick has to down tools and go for a long walk chasing a white ball around.

I have to find other ways to get out, which can be tricky when it’s chucking it down outside. When the skies clear a bit, we head to our local café Handley’s on Ashford High Street for some coffee and cake, using it as an excuse to get our steps up, some fresh air, and did I mention cake?

Thrive: This month we paid a visit to the opening of a new skin clinic in Cobham. Dr Martin Nimmo is bringing all the glamour of Chelsea to the beautiful Surrey countryside, and with it all the latest skincare gadgets that A-Listers use to keep themselves looking tip-top.

Attended by the likes of Kirsty Gallagher and Amanda Byram it promises to become a go-to for anyone wanting the benefits of experience and technology to help them look and feel their best.

Learn: Learning how to make the most of your life is something we all could do with – you only get one shot, so you might as well do your best to make it count. Life coaching is one of the most straight forward ways of doing this.

A good life coach both cheers you on and holds you accountable for your actions… or lack of them, because most of the time we don’t get what we want because we don’t change our behaviour; forgetting that if you change nothing, nothing changes.

Latest from the Surrey