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Setting SMARTER goals

Almost every year people around the world make New Years Resolutions. At the moment people all over the world are setting goals to get through the next few months of physical distancing.

Often when setting goals we make the mistake of just giving an idea.

- I will lose weight this year.

- I will learn to play the ukulele.

- I will stop smoking. The trouble with this short statement, is there's nothing to say how you're going to give that thing up, or learn that new thing. This is where SMARTER Goal setting comes in.

I'm sure you've heard of SMART Goals. If you've ever worked in business, they seem to be a staple in the office, but they can be limited.

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Realistic

T = Timely or Time-Based

In therapy, we like to mix things up a bit and make things more rounded and meaningful for anyone wishing to use them. So we make the SMARTER.

S - specific, significant, stretching

M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

E – evaluate, examine, explore

R – reward, result, reinforcement, readjust

The addition of the evaluate and reward steps means we are able to review how we went and most of all give ourselves a pat on the back. The achievement of the goal is not the only reward. Depending on the size of the goal, maybe an ice cream would be appropriate, or a massage. As humans we like being rewarded.

NOTE: When picking a time, keep it short to start off with. It's much easier to see success in shorter term goals when we're starting out. Such as, 'I will go to the gym five times a week for the next week' this is far more manageable to evaluate and reward than 'I will go to the gym five days a week for six months'. The shorter space between checkpoints, makes the goal more achievable.

Once you've worked through the SMARTER part of the goal setting, ask yourself the following four questions about your goal.

1. What resources do I need to achieve this goal?

(if you're planning on learning the ukulele, you may need a ukulele, music, YouTube videos, etc. If you don't have them already, or can't get them, this goal may not be achievable and you're setting yourself up for failure.)

2. Is there anything preventing me from making this goal happen?

(Consider those around you, your own thoughts, restrictions or time, space and/or $$)

3. Who will I be accountable to? (this is one or more people that will help you by gentle asking how the goals is going and help you celebrate your achievements.)

4. What are the benefits to me in achieving this goal? (having a reason to do something, rather than, 'just because', can make all the difference to success.)

Once you've completed this you can start working on your goal. At the end of it, you get the sense of achievement plus a nice little reward. We all like rewards.

Over the coming days, weeks and months, we need to look after ourselves and our loved ones. We need to be kind and considerate. We can get through this together. If you need to talk or have any questions, please do not hesitate to email through the contact page or like and comment of the Facebook page. You can also call on 9484 112 720. Happy goal-setting.

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