Friday, April 21, 2017


One of the most common sources for anxiety in people who want to achieve anything is how to set a goal. We tend to see the final result and we have no idea how to get there. To get to the magic coast, we have to hike through the desert, climb the mountain, battle the troll under the bridge, avoid the enchanted forest... these are the steps involved. There are always more than we realize.

I often hear, "I want to start my own business," or "I want to move out into my own place and be independent," and are overwhelmed by the task. The reason is: it's just too big. So how does a goal oriented person begin? 

There are several options:

SMART goals. The accepted way to write a goal is the SMART format. And yes, if I am your therapist, I will have you write it down someplace. A journal, a white board, the bathroom mirror - if that is where you will see it. 
S: Specific. What are you trying to achieve. The result of your efforts. 
M: Measurable. How are you going to quantify your success and progress? In terms of money? Lowering or increasing scores on a test? 
A: Achievable. If your goal is to grow wings and fly away then you're just setting yourself up. 
R: Realistic. You aren't going to play professional basketball if you are only 5' tall. But you may have other options for your talents. 
T: Time limited. What time frame are we looking at? What date are you aiming for?

So here is an example based on the above breakdown: (GOAL) Start a business
 (Tasks/action steps)
Write a business plan and submit to a loan officer for a business loan. 
Criteria will include type of business, current earnings, market research, etc
Use skills obtained in business school and enlist experts on subjects of xyz to consult/be on board of directors, etc
Due date for plan: (set dates for 1st, 2nd and final draft) Submit to Bank: (set date). 
There are probably many other tasks in starting a business but the idea is that you break down your lofty hopes and dreams into workable parts. 

If you have many hopes and dreams, then listing those in a grid format can also help break them down and prioritize. What do you want to / or have to get done in the next 30 days? 6 months? 1 year and 3 years? You're making 4 boxes and sometimes the tasks and goals will be moved up or moved farther out depending on what is going on in your life. 

I have one client who is using an app called "Epic Win" to record goals. What makes this app different is that it is based on role playing games (RPG). You are a character, and the more you meet your goal deadlines the more your character gains points that are applied to looks, charisma, etc. For younger people who play RPGs regularly this can be especially appealing. The app isn't free but it's not expensive. It's certainly a creative way to achieve!

Another creative option is the vision board. There are many many tutorials online about these. If you are unclear of what direction you want to go it, doing one of these may assist you in determining a course of action. It's also a wonderful way to procrastinate!

Are you ready to get started? I am including a handout on SMART goals and a goal grid here
Set those goals and smash them!

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