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Want to Make a Change?

By Jenny Schaafsma, PhD
July 2023

Want to Make a Change?

Goal setting is an incredibly helpful way to make a change. Perhaps you want to reduce your substance use, incorporate exercise in your life, manage feelings of anxiety, engage in self-care, etc.

It's easy to get caught in goal setting traps that don't set us up for success.

For example, we may set too broad of goals, set unachievable goals for ourselves, not be connected to the values that underlie the goals we are setting, or not be able to concretely assess our progress. There are numerous strategies to aid in goal setting. I'd love to share one with you!

It's about setting S.M.A.R.T goals!

S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic acronym that provides criteria to support the process of setting and achieving goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Examples of goals that are not S.M.A.R.T:

Let's turn two of these examples into S.M.A.R.T Goals!

Goal: Study for Psychology Exam

S.M.A.R.T. Goal: Study for Psychology Exam from 5:00pm to 6:00pm this Thursday

Goal: Exercise More

S.M.A.R.T. Goal: Exercise two times this week on Monday before work and Wednesday after work

What's a goal you have for yourself? Is it S.M.A.R.T? My challenge for you is to adapt your goal using the S.M.A.R.T strategy.

Let's set you up for success!

About the Author

Jenny Schaafsma, PhD

Jenny Schaafsma, PhD

Jenny Schaafsma is a Psychologist at HRA Psychological Services. She provides individual counseling and assessment services for young adults and adults.

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