S.M.A.R.T Goals for Better Mental Health

By Waseem Kakroo

GOALS make life purposeful. They are meant to push you on a regular basis to use your talent, skills, creativity, time, money, and opportunities to make a real difference in your life, your family, your job, and your immediate surroundings.

Despite the fact that making goals is frequently connected to the start of a new year, goal-setting can be helpful at any time of the year. Setting goals as a fundamental part of psychotherapy sessions can be a helpful tool for improving one’s growth personally as well as therapeutically to enhance mental health. During therapeutic sessions, goals are set as they are meant to shape a healthy philosophy in client’s mind.

The process of setting goals is entwined with the self-determination values that are crucial to mental health. Setting goals specifically enables the person to decide what tasks are important to them and make a strategy of their own free will to fulfill them. For the purpose of reducing problematic behaviors linked to various mental illnesses, opportunities for autonomous decision-making are also crucial.

What are SMART GOALS and how they can benefit mental health?

Goal setting is important for every individual however, for people who deal with various mental health issues, setting goals for themselves can be work as a savior. Individuals exercise their autonomy when setting and completing goals, which is a crucial aspect of mental health. A quality goal has a few characteristics that define it.

The acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound, refers to these characteristics.

This goal-setting technique can help you brace yourself up for success in all facets of your life, including your mental health. Let’s examine what each of these criteria signifies.

1. Specific: The first step is to clearly define your goals and write them down as instructions for yourself. Your goal statement needs to be very specific; nothing should be left ambiguous. After reading the whole statement, you should be able to respond to the who, what, when, where, and why questions.

Example: They would say, for instance, “I want to read two novels every month,” rather than just “I want to read more books.” Who else has to be involved, whether any preparation is required, possibly where, and why this aim is the goal are other details that could be included. Reading aloud to a friend could be beneficial in the case. To borrow books virtually, they might need to buy software or set up regular trips to the library. Making these choices should take into account the goal-setter’s objective. For instance, their preparation for this aim would be significantly different if their goal were to practice and enhance their reading skills rather than to reduce the amount of time they spend staring at screens on devices.

2. Measurable: Throughout the process of achieving your goal, you should be able to measure your progress and determine how far you still have to go. It includes understanding what benchmarks will you use to gauge your development?

Example: The standard is quite straightforward: each month, two novels should be read. When creating a goal, it’s critical to be clear about how progress will be measured as well as how data will be gathered as the goal is accomplished. How frequently will the person check in to see how things are going? What precisely will they be keeping an eye on?

3. Achievable: While it’s important to set challenging goals that will allow you to grow, you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure in the process. Make sure your goals are reasonable for the time you have allocated yourself when you are setting them.

Example: The person may choose to begin by reading one book each month and depending on how they are doing, after a few months, move to 2 books per month.

4. Relevant: How does your goal fit into your long-term plan? What role does it have in the greater scheme of your life? When you succeed in your goal, you don’t want to run into a brick wall.
Example: If the person setting the goal is already reads two novels per month, this goal would not be applicable to them. If so, reading three books every month or possibly raising the reading levels of the novels would be excellent goals.

5. Time-Bound: Setting deadlines for your goals will motivate you along the way. They will assist you with organizing yourself, setting priorities for your work, and developing a sense of urgency so that you can complete your goals within set time.

Example: The goal of reading two novels per month is a fantastic way to outline what will be achieved (hopefully), but there must be a clear end in sight. The individual might choose to read two novels each month for three months, then assess their performance and establish a new goal.

Setting SMART goals is a means to make personal improvements or accomplishments, and doing so is good for mental health. An act of self-determination involves making decisions on what to work on for oneself and carrying them out. Self-confidence and mental wellness are increased when one completes a meaningful task for themselves. Setting goals can happen on an individual basis, as part of a wider programme or treatment plan, or both, with the same positive outcome.

  • The author is a licensed clinical psychologist (alumni of Govt. Medical College Srinagar) and works as a consultant clinical psychologist at Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at Rambagh Srinagar. He can be reached at 8825067196

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