Smart Goals

Creating a SMART goal is a practical, concrete way to set yourself up for success, and there is no one better suited to help you in creating and achieving a SMART goal than a therapist. A SMART goal is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and mely; which sounds simple, but winnowing down what exactly is measurable, relevant, or even attainable, can be a daunting task in and of itself.

When creating goals, a therapist is well positioned to help you identify something that is truly specific. You may have an idea of where you want to start. You may know that you need to save money, stick to a fitness regimen, or improve your relationships, but these are big goals, and too broad to take action on. A therapist has the ability to impartially guide you, asking specific questions informed by the relationship you have, allowing you to work together to acknowledge these things you want to work on, why you want to work on them, and what specific things you want to accomplish. This may look like sessions focused around the behavioral change you’re seeking, and conversations around your motivations for wanting to achieve this goal.

Creating your goals with therapeutic guidance is a way to ensure that you’re making these choices and changes for growth, for the positive sake of your well-being, and are not throwing yourself into something that ultimately may be harmful. This ensures your goal is attainable, and a realistic change or achievement. Maybe your goal is to run a marathon at a specific pace, but the marathon is in four weeks and you’ve never run more than a block or two before – a therapist is going to be able to help you understand why you want to achieve that goal, what it means to you, but why that’s not an attainable one at this time, and can instead help you to create a more realistic goal. Going into a goal that is unrealistic, that you ultimately will not be able to achieve, has the potential to be extremely harmful, and setting these goals with the guidance of a therapist is a way to avoid this pitfall.

A therapist is also well poised to help you visualize these goals and create concrete action steps towards specific goals. You and your therapist may use sessions to determine how you’re going to measure your goal, or what the timeline for your goal looks like. Your therapist is able to act as a sounding board, and a guide.

Perhaps most importantly, the key to achieving SMART goals is holding yourself accountable, another task that can be daunting to go alone. Regular sessions with a therapist give you an opportunity to check in, to discuss the progress towards your goal, and to reevaluate as necessary. In fact, a therapist may nudge you forward when you don’t think you have the courage to keep going, or help you to slow down if the goal is becoming too overwhelming.

Goal setting is an important step towards making true, lasting change in your life, and for many people change is inherently scary. A therapist is available to offer you support and guidance as you navigate this change process, allowing you the time and space you need to meet your goals, creating positive change in your life.

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