When I come across an individual who is facing many challenges in life, I oftentimes work with him or her on setting goals for the following reasons: 1. It will help a person to face what they are running from head on or 2. This undertaking will help them while providing them with a task to take their mind off the issue at hand.  Goal-setting is a healthy coping skill that allows one to deal with the pressures of life while simultaneously pushing them towards a goal.  Below is a list of four tips to help identify your goals and work towards reaching them.

Tip #1: Write it down

This is the first tip, and in my opinion, the most important one. A person cannot know where they are going until they know what direction they are headed. So, decide what it is that you want to tackle. When you write these goals down, make sure that you review them daily.

Tip #2: Guard your goals with your life

Keep your goals to yourself. When you initially begin to set aspirations and working towards them, you may not “hit the mark.” Having to explain to others why you did not reach a certain goal can be discouraging. For that reason, I suggest that you keep goals private. Put them in a place that other family members do not have access to such as, in your journal or behind your closet door.

Tip #3 Set small attainable goals

The worst thing that you can do when identifying a target is to set a goal so huge that you feel it will take forever to reach it. For instance, you may tell yourself, I would like to go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner. You then tell yourself, it will take years to reach this goal. Because it is such a big objective and requires years of sacrifice, you may feel overwhelmed. The best thing to do is to break down your goal and say, “for this month, my goal is to decide which college I will attend and gather all of the paperwork necessary to apply. After that is completed, you can set a new attainable goal. In that way, you can witness progress and reach milestones on the way to your BIG goal.

Tip #4 Make them measurable

Finally, you should constantly assess and measure your progress to determine if you are moving towards your target. If the plan you have is not working, tweak it, make changes and try another method.  Find out what works for you and set your intention to continue to move forward until you can witness success.

So, there you have it. I highly suggest you take out a piece of paper, break out your computer or get out your favorite journal and jot down a list of things that you would like to accomplish and use these tips to map out a plan to not just set goals but to reach them as well. And remember that whatever you do, whatever situation you may face…Don’t ever give up!

About the counselor: Joan Hampton is guest posting. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Gulfport, Mississippi that has a passion for working with people that feel overwhelmed in life and are battling stress and anxiety.  You can learn more information by checking out her website: www.oasismentalwellness.com

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