During your recovery process, it is important to have a goal in mind. Then, with help from your professional, you can focus on this goal during your treatment. Goals help to make what you want to work on more tangible; they give your recovery direction, they make your progress transparent and give you an idea of when your treatment can be completed. This can give you the energy to keep going, increase your persistence and enhance your creativity to reach your goals despite the difficult circumstances that will undoubtedly arise along the way.
Answer the following questions:
- When will you see yourself as recovered or as having made significant progress?
- When would the treatment be seen as successful for you?
- What do you want to be able to do again that you are not able to do now?
- When would your partner/best friend/parent/colleague notice that something has changed?
The SMART method
You can elaborate on these goals in detail using the SMART method. This method helps to make your goals more tangible and supports you in achieving your goals. You can make your goals SMART by following these steps:
S – Specific: Describe the goal clearly and concretely. Be specific. It must describe an observable action, result or behaviour.
M – Measurable: Make your goal measurable by assigning a value to it. Based on this figure, you can determine whether your goal has been achieved.
A – Achievable: Is your goal achievable? An achievable goal can inspire you, motivate you and put you in ‘action mode’. Formulate your goal positively (‘I want to’, instead of ‘I don’t want to’).
R – Relevant/Realistic: Is your goal in line with your values and other goals? Is your goal realistically attainable? Do you have the right resources, skills and time to achieve your goal?
T – Time-bound: Take note of when your goal has been achieved. When are you going to start and when are you going to finish? This gives you a grip on the situation and puts the ending in sight.
Example of a SMART goal
You are feeling down and want to feel less lonely. Therefore, you set a goal to become more active again and to visit your friends more. You can make this goal SMART in the following way:
“I would like to meet my friends again (specific),
at least once a week (measurable and realistic),
by the end of the year (time-bound and achievable). ”
This goal is tangible; you know what to do and when you want to have achieved it. It gives an indication of the steps and actions you can take to realize your goals. This creates clarity, focus and motivation.
Some examples of goals which are not SMART are: “I would like to socialize more”, “I don’t want to withdraw so much anymore”, “I have to go out more often”, and “I want to see my friends more because I am lonely”. Can you tell the difference?
Does your goal motivate you?
It is important that you are intrinsically motivated to reach your goal. That means that the motivation to achieve the goal comes from within you. Therapy is hard work and if you have the motivation put in the work, you are more likely to achieve your goals! Are you really going for this goal? If necessary, adjust the goal until it feels right so that you can start working on it with the right motivation.
Write down your goal and visualize it
Visualizing your goals ensures that you can literally see your goals in front of you and work towards them. This is very effective! You can also always read back on your goals as a reminder to regain focus. For example, create a registration in NiceDay in which you write down your personal goals or set a repeated reminder for your goals. Write down your goals as specifically and in as much detail as possible. The more details you write down, the clearer they will become. Your goals can even seep into your subconscious, making you not only consciously but also unconsciously work towards your goals.
Do more than just writing them down
Of course, there are more ways to envision your goals other than writing them down and reading them. You can also visualize your goal based on a drawing, painting, diagram, mood board, illustration, artwork or anything else that suits you. Let your creativity run wild! Then make sure that you can see your creation in a place you visit often so that you are regularly reminded of your journey and your goal.
Achieved your goal?
When you have achieved your goal and feel like you have enough tools at your disposal, you can continue independently with other (smaller) goals. Even if your treatment ends, your growth will continue.
Getting down to business
Write down your goals, leave them somewhere easy for you to see and get started. Good luck with your recovery!