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Set goals and plans to change your behaviour

Write down your reasons to change

When trying to change your behaviour in some way, a good place to start is to think about the most important reason or reasons you want to make this change.

It can be helpful to put your reasons into words, note it down and remind yourself of it, especially if you start to lack motivation.

Set a goal

It's helpful to think about what it is exactly that you want to change. Think first of one overall goal that you would like to achieve.

You may choose a broad goal such as these examples:

  • Stop working on the weekends
  • Save more money for holidays with my partner
  • Get my kids to school on time

Or you may want to make your goal a little more specific such as these examples:

  • I want to save £50 each month this year
  • I want to practice mindfulness every other day for a month
  • I want to only work for 2 hours on Saturday
  • I want to set a gambling spending cap of £30 and stick to it this month
  • I want to take my medications correctly everyday
  • I want to get my children to school on time every day

Once you've chosen your goal, make a note of it to act as a reminder.

Make an action plan

One way you can increase your chances of reaching your goals, is by planning how you are going to make these changes.

The following steps can help you make an action plan for achieving your goals.

If the idea of change seems daunting, try thinking about making small steps first. If you make gradual changes, you are much more likely to build motivation and confidence and maintain them over time.

Below, we have taken some of these goals examples and turned them into action plans. Most action plans specify 'what', 'where' and 'when'. 

Example 1


"I want to practice mindfulness every other day for a month"

Action plan

  • What: Practice mindfulness
  • Where: At home in my bedroom
  • When: In the mornings before work every other day

Example 2


"I want to get my kids to school on time every day"

Action plan

  • What: Get my kids to school on time
  • Where: At home, in the car and at school
  • When: Weekday mornings

Everyone is different and these are simply examples. There are no limits on the number of plans you can set; this is your choice.

We've provided a PDF version (PDF) [108KB] of this page that you can download, print out and fill in.

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