T H E T H E R A P I S T  D I R E C T O R Y  O F  S A N D I E G O


by Elisabeth Caetano, M.A.
Marriage & Family Therapist
Elisabeth Caetano, San Diego Marriage and Family Therapist
Many times, working with a therapist includes working on concrete goals. People can be helped to achieve goals by offering a supportive environment and working with them to build on the strengths that they already have in order to incorporate new techniques to manage stress, set goals and deal with life changes. Many times it is useful to have a guideline such as the one below to help achieve what we want to do in life.

Steps on How To Set Goals

First Step:
Choose a realistic goal. Focus on goals that are realistic and that you have control over. If we have no control over something then we are setting an unrealistic expectation and therefore set ourselves up for failure.

Second Step:
Make your goal observable and measurable. If they are not, then we tend to get overwhelmed with trying to figure out what the goal is or we continually change it and never really set the actual goal. We get lost in the process of setting the goal, rather than working on steps to actually achieve the goal. This leads us to step #3.

Third Step:
Define the goal in small steps. It is very helpful to write down the goal and each step that you will do to achieve this goal. Not only does this make it real, it helps you concentrate on the second step above and it helps achieve step #5.

Fourth Step:
Set a realistic timeline for each step and the overall goal. Write it out!

Fifth Step:
Monitor your progress. By writing down each step you can check it off and measure your progress. This makes you accountable as well as keeps you encouraged to reach the overall goal because you are focusing on the positive of what you have achieved, rather than the negative of what you have not achieved.

Realistic baby steps are all you need to make changes in your life and to keep your goals!

Quick Tips to Make Small Changes
• Put each item away when it is in your hand rather than putting it in a to-do pile.
• Put things in writing to make them concrete for yourself.
• Don't overwhelm yourself with huge to do lists. Limit yourself to 3 items per day. You will be much more effective and feel a sense of accomplishment instead of hopelessness or overwhelm.
• Make and follow through with one goal at a time, not 10 at a time.

For more information about Elisabeth Caetano, Marriage and Family Therapist, go to:
Elisabeth Caetano, M.A., MFT

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