Identify Goals & Intentions by Sara Loughlin, LCSW

Happy New Year everyone! This month’s blog theme is about identifying goals and themes for the new year to support your recovery process. I am a big fan of setting goals. If we don’t set goals for ourselves we are like a boat in the ocean without a destination. The boat weathers storms and turns this way and that way and just tries to survive. But if the boat has a set destination, it may be turned around by the same storms, but it will get back on its course and eventually reach its target.
One way to identify goals for ourselves is to picture what we want to have accomplished by the end of the year, or even a few years out. Once we are able to conceptualize this, we can break it down into smaller goals and take baby steps towards what we want. Each smaller success builds confidence and keeps up our momentum in the right direction.
In the corporate world, goals and objectives are paramount to companies’ bottom lines. Corporate executives have developed a way to make goals more attainable through the acronym SMART goal setting, which brings structure to achieving one’s goals. These types of goals can be very helpful to personal goals as well.
S- Specific
M- Measurable
A- Attainable
R- Relevant
T- Timely
So let’s say our goal is to reduce our anxiety in the new year. If we leave it vague and open ended, it increases our likelihood that we will soon forget about it. However, if we create a SMART goal breaking it down, it becomes much clearer and easier to stay focused on it. For example to work on reducing anxiety our goal could be to take a meditation class (or do a group meditation) 1x per week and meditate for 10 min 2x per week at home for 1 month (to start). Now it is very easy to track your progress towards your goal. Please make sure the goals are attainable and don’t beat yourself up if you get off track, just get back on course as soon as you can. Take care and good luck!

Elana Clark-Faler
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