Goalsetting and How Setting Good Goals Will Set You Up for Success

For many people, goalsetting can help create a roadmap for their life. They are able to visualize where they want to be, and it motivates them to pull themselves out of where they are. No matter how big or small, goals are important to help people stay motivated. Read on to see how to set good goals and how goal setting helps you.

What Is Goalsetting?

Goals are defined by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine as, “mental representations of desired outcomes.” Goalsetting is the act of writing out and planning your goals. This can spark a positive change and motivation for something you really want, or even just help you move forward from a bad place.

Some people struggle with determining what goals to set. For this, you’ll have to think of what you want your future to look like. What do you want? Do you have the resources to achieve it? Using the goal-setting strategy of SMART goals, you may find you can make progress in any area of life.

How Do You Set Goals?

How you set goals depends on your goal, but you can start with the SMART method. SMART goals are:

Specific: Your goal should be specific enough to actively plan around. When a goal is too vague, you may find there is no clear route to achieving it. An example of a specific goal is getting your driver’s license or buying a car. A non-specific goal might be to make it to the end of the semester in school. Of course, you’ll make it, so what are your specific goals before the end of the semester and how will you get there?

Measurable: Your goal should be measurable, meaning that it should be something you can tangibly point to know you’re progressing. How long will it take? How much money do you need to save? How many people’s help do you need? Find a way to measure your success and you’ll better be able to track your progress.

Achievable: Your goal needs to be achievable, meaning you need to have the resources and help available to you to achieve your goal. For example, if you have a certain college or career goal in mind, you may need to assess your grades and start working with school staff, counselors, tutors, or others to help you make a plan for your chosen university. Don’t give up; there are a lot of paths to university goals!

Relevant: Think about this goal and how it impacts your life—will it be helping in other areas and setting you up for success? Is there something about this goal that helps you grow and reach larger goals within your life?

Time-Bound: Think of when you’d like to achieve your goal. How long is it going to take? How long will you have to achieve it? Establishing a time frame will help you continue to take action every day and see in a timeline how close you are to achieving your goal.

Why Do Goals Matter?

Setting goals will help you make positive changes and show yourself that you can achieve everything you want to do. Your goals define where you want your life to lead and can set you up for success. Without goals in life, you can stagnate and develop issues that may be hard to come back from.

Goals can also be health-related. Health goals can vary for each individual. Aggressive health goals, like diet plans or exercise, should be planned with the help of a doctor or physician.

Can I Set Mental Health Goals?

Setting mental health goals is a great way to help you reach goals aligned with the challenges your therapist poses for you. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic practice designed with goalsetting in mind that any client can think about using SMART goals. For example, there are four key functions of treatment that clients should reach in DBT. The therapist will give strategies for how this can be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These are the four key functions, which read like goals:

  • Function 1: Enhancing capabilities. This means the client’s goal is to measurably improve specific and important life skills like emotional regulation, tolerating stress, and more.
  • Function 2: Generalizing capabilities. This means the client’s goal is to start integrating what they are learning in their therapy sessions into their daily lives in a meaningful way and ensure their changes are relevant to their overall success.
  • Function 3: Improving motivation and reducing dysfunctional behaviors. This means the client will track their progress on a diary card each week with the therapist and look at how they can achieve the goal of reducing dysfunctional behaviors, as well as tracking how these behaviors disrupt different aspects of their life.
  • Function 4: Structuring the environment. This means the client’s goal is to create a safer environment for themselves to thrive and keep up with all the strategies they’ve learned so far in therapy.

Setting goals can be difficult when a teen doesn’t know where to start. Some teens struggle with trauma, attachment issues, or other mental health issues that stunt their ability to make smart choices or find ways to make things better for themselves. If you are struggling with your teen daughter’s inability to achieve emotional regulation, their struggle with trauma, or their consistent attachment issues that are hindering their life, call us at Havenwood Academy. Our professional and experienced staff can help your child through their trauma or attachment issues with therapeutic methods like DBT, brainspotting, neurofeedback, and more. We also help teen girls develop SMART goals. Our Utah facility takes Medicaid, California Adoption Assistance Program Funding, and our team will do everything they can to find funding options for your family. We understand your daughter is hurting and needs help, we want to help her see find her goals, inner strength, and motivation. Call (435) 586-2500.


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