Friday, November 4, 2016

Setting SMART Goals: Step 3

Step 1 is about making a choice to improve your state of mental health.  We can all use some help in this area and it is not just about the ones who are struggling the most.  Once you have decided that you want to feel better, then you are ready to move forward.

Step 2 is about self-reflection and understanding what your own issues are.  Doing a self-assessment can be difficult, especially if the problems are deep rooted and sometimes scary to deal with.  Pick only issues that you feel you are ready to deal with and don't overload yourself.  Even if you assess one problem at a time and work through the steps, you are heading in the right direction.  If gets easier as you get stronger.

Step 3 is where you begin to set goals for yourself.  If you can't take a positive approach to your future then you will end up stuck where you are.  Especially with anxiety issues, it is difficult to change our mindset towards the future because we always have a sense of impending doom and are often overwhelmed by the amount of thoughts we are flooded with each day.

In school we learned about setting SMART goals and I use this quite often in my own approach to myself and others.  To begin, your goals should be Specific.  Find the issue you want to deal with and come up with a specific goal in regards to it.  If I am anxious about something that will happen next week, identify specifically why you are anxious, and then decide what you will do about it.

The second part is to make sure the goal you have set is Measurable.  How will you measure your success in achieving your goal?  How will you know if you have met your goal?  It may be a reduction in stress or anxiety levels and you will want to be able to look back and see your progress.  This is what keeps you moving forward.  Is your goal Attainable?  Is it merely a hope or is your goal something that you will be able to accomplish?  Make sure when setting goals that you have every opportunity to achieve them, otherwise this can set you up for feelings of failure.

Is your goal Realistic and Relevant?  Is it something that you will have the time and energy to accomplish, and is relevant to your overall suffering?  Goal setting is about making sure that it is doable so that you can drive yourself to do it.  You will be directing your own improvements so make sure that you have set a goal that is actually possible once you have looked at all of the parameters to the problem.

Finally, set yourself a Timeframe in which you would like to accomplish your goal.  Do you want to complete it by tomorrow or will it take a week or two?  This step is very important because otherwise we can lead ourselves down the path of procrastination.  This is your mental health we are talking about and there is nothing more important than your health.  Take on this step with the importance that it holds, and do something good for you!

I will expand on goal setting over the next few days, but in the mean time start thinking about goals for yourself which will improve your thinking and your own state of mind.  Rather than letting your feelings and emotions overwhelm you to a point of exhaustion, start taking steps to make it better.  Find those thoughts that are plaguing your existence and set some SMART goals that will help you improve your own situation.

Be Well

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