Setting SMART Goals

By Arden O'Connor

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Venus Williams has seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name, as just one of her endless achievements. The world recognized tennis star has been successful in the spotlight for the majority of her career since her teenage years. To say she has been up against some of the greatest rivals in the world stems beyond the tennis court. Maintaining status as a relevant professional tennis player takes an incredibly amount of talent, discipline, and focus. “I don’t focus on what I’m up against,” Williams once said. “I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”

Goals are a productive way to keep focus and progress in recovery. Too often, men and women in recovery set the expectations of their goals higher than they are able to achieve. Disappointments are shortcuts to resentments, which are toxic to an individual’s recovery. The worst resentments are the kind one holds against themselves. Not reaching a goal inspires the kind of critical talk which can inspire negative patterns of thinking, like a relapse into problematic symptoms or behaviors.

O’Connor Professional Group offers therapeutic recovery companions and coaches who can support clients in setting SMART goals and achieving them. With the support of knowledgeable, trustworthy, experienced professionals, clients can set and meet their goals with ease, building confidence in themselves and their recovery.

The SMART in smart goals stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Specific: There is a distinct difference between “do more therapy this year” and “complete 20 weeks of therapy this year”. Setting vague and ambiguous goals is a set up for disappointment in recovery. Goals need to be specific so that they can be reached.

Measurable: Doing more therapy has many benefits, but none specific to a specific goal. Creating measurable goals means creating intervals of accomplishment as well as metrics for the overarching goal. How do you measure the reward of achieving 20 weeks of therapy? More specifically than simply doing “more therapy”.

Attainable: Being a modern professional often comes with a cornucopia of inspirational quotes about never quitting, no dream being too big, and no goal being out of reach. Smart goals are attainable goals which make sense. For example, attempting to get the “perfect body” in six weeks is not attainable. Firstly, the “perfect body” fallacy is just that- a fallacy, one that drives people to eating disorders and other harmful behaviors. Secondly, six weeks is a short amount of time to make radical health changes. A smarter goal would be to set specific health and fitness goals which will help “improve” one’s appearance, if that is the desire.

Relevant: There are the goals that society imposes on you to have and the goals you set for yourself because they matter to you. Recovery is far more challenging for those who don’t do it for themselves. Just like recovery, your goals have to be yours in order for you to be inspired to accomplish them.

Timely: You can’t always dedicate all of your time to goals. Smart goals are the ones you can dedicated a healthy amount of time to, in increments. Set small deadlines which are easy to achieve and set an ultimate deadline to complete the entire project. Keep your time flexible. You’ve learned through recovery how to live life on life’s terms. Your goals operate on life’s terms as well.

Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940

About The Arden O'Connor

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