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This podcast episode is based on Journey to Recovery: A Comprehensive Guide to Recovery from Mental Health and Addiction Issues by Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes  Read it for free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.

Journey to Recovery Series
Goal Setting
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes Executive Director, AllCEUs
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox & Happiness isn’t Brain Surgery

CEUs are available for this presentation at

~ Identify the purpose of setting goals
~ Learn about SMART goals and how to set them
~ Explore pitfalls in goal setting

Why Do I Care
~ Goal setting is an integral part of behavior change
~ Goal setting is something everyone does every day
~ Ineffective goals can have a negative impact on self esteem
~ Ineffective goals can make people mistakenly think they are helpless to change anything.
~ Identifying pitfalls in goal setting
~ Prepare an authentic Italian meal.
~ Learn what an authentic Italian meal consists of
~ Decide what is going to be in YOUR meal
~ Learn about how to prepare that meal
~ Identify what ingredients you need for that meal (and get what you don’t have)
~ Do you do everything at the same time? (Hint: No, the sauce is made first so the seasonings can blend)
~ Specific
~ Measurable
~ Achievable
~ Realistic
~ Time Limited

~ Think about the last goal you set that was successful…
~ Think about the last goal you set that was unsuccessful.
~ What is the difference between the two?
~ Motivation?

Goals—The Beginning
~ Goals (What & Why)þ
~ I want to…so that I can …
~ Goals are the overarching reason a person begins to do something.
~ Often goals are broad and abstract. “I want to be healthier.” “I want to be happy.”
~ Goals need to be broken down into manageable, meaningful, observable objectives.
~ Phrase goals as adding a positive instead of removing a negative.
Start With Problem Definition
~ What are the symptoms of the problem?
~ How are the symptoms impacting your overall functioning?
~ What is your perception of the problem?
~ What are your strengths in relation to solving this problem?
Goal Development
~ In general, if the problem is resolved what will you achieve/what will be different?
~ What is the absence of the problem?
~ If I am not ____ then I am ______
~ How will your best friend know when you have achieved your goal?

Miracle Question
~ One way to elicit goals is through the miracle question:
~ If you woke up tomorrow and you were _____ (i.e. your problem was resolved/goal was achieved) what would be different?
~ This provides insight into the symptoms/definition of the problem and motivations for change.
~ Overall Goal for Treatment
~ What is the problem?
~ Example: Depression
~ How will you know when the problem is resolved?
~ Emotionally, I won’t feel as hopeless and helpless. I wont dread getting out of bed.
~ Mentally, I won’t be so foggy headed and will be able to concentrate
~ Physically, I will have more energy and lose some weight
~ Socially, I will enjoy spending time with friends

~ Main Issue
~ Learn about the overall problem (Depression)
~ Learn about your symptoms/causes/triggers of the problem
~ Identify ways to address your specific symptoms/causes/triggers
~ Pick one way to address your specific symptoms (helplessness, difficulty concentrating, no energy, no desire to interact with others) and start doing that.

Measurable (Goals)
~ Frequency (#/time)
~ Number of times per day or week
~ i.e. Number of crying episodes/day
~ i.e. Number of eating episodes NOT due to hunger/day
~ i.e. Number of wake-ups/night
~ Duration (How long)
~ Crying
~ Eating
~ Sleeping (How long were you awake)
~ Intensity
~ How bad was it? Likert (1-mild; 2-moderate; 3-intense; 4-excruciating)
~ Number of calories per binge

~ When trying to change, aim to increase a positive behavior
~ Instead of crying  laugh
~ Instead of stress eating  crochet
~ Instead of measuring how sad you feel, measure how happy you feel
~ Positive behaviors serve roughly the same function and are incompatible with the behavior you are trying to eliminate.
~ Keep it simple! Only choose one or two things to measure.
Activity: Observable and Measurable
~ Write each of the following “goals” on a piece of paper:
~ Lose weight
~ Get in shape
~ Feel better about myself
~ Be happier
~ Identify at least 2 ways for each goal that identifies goal achievement. “How will you know when you are/have _____”
~ How would you measure each of those?
Achievable, Realistic, Time-Limited
~ Rome was not built in a day
~ Built on prior strengths and individualized
~ Something you are motivated and able to change
~ Weekly goals; Daily goals; Hourly goals (Starting)

~ Think of behavior change like learning lines for a play.
~ You wouldn’t expect to read the script once and know it. You must rehearse
~ You will need prompts and assistance.
~ As you learn the amount of prompts will be fewer.

The Hook, A.K.A. The 5 Ws
~ Who is responsible for doing What, When, Where, Why and How
~ This is your action plan or map
~ Who
~ What are you responsible for doing, when and where
~ Why are you doing it
~ How is it helping you meet your ultimate goal

~ Main Issue (8/1/2016-9/5/2016)
~ I will learn about the overall problem of depression by reading one chapter of XYZ Book and the handouts provided by Dr. Snipes each week for 5 weeks.
~ I will learn about my symptoms/causes/triggers of the problem by taking notes on what sounds like me as I read the book and handouts about depression. I will review my notes each week.
~ For each symptom I have, I will create an action plan to learn about its causes and interventions and develop a plan of action.
~ Each morning and evening, I will do a mindfulness scan and rate, on a scale from 1-4, my happiness and explain my response. I will review this log each Friday to identify patterns and trends.

~ Symptom: Fatigue (8/1/2016-9/5/2016)
~ I will learn about the symptom of fatigue by reading one chapter handouts on each week for 5 weeks.
~ I will learn about my causes/triggers of fatigue by taking notes on what sounds like me as I read the handouts. I will review my notes each week.
~ I will identify ways to address my fatigue causes/triggers by reviewing handouts on
~ Each morning and evening, I will rate, on a scale from 1-4 my fatigue and explain my response. I will review this log each Friday to identify patterns and trends.

Writing the Plan
~ Goals are:
~ Meaningful
~ Specific and Observable
~ Measurable
~ Realistic
~ Supported by sub-goals
~ Use the KSA progression
~ Address the reasons for NOT changing

Motivational Exercise
~ Decisional Balance

~ Completed on each unique behavior and repeated often
~ Can be useful in addressing “resistance”

~ Failing to consider why currently do (or do not) engage in certain behaviors
~ Setting goals that are too big
~ Setting goals that are too hard
~ Setting too many goals
~ Setting goals without sufficient rewards
~ Setting goals that are too specific
~ Failing to individualize to your temperament
~ Write out instructions for how to do laundry. Give it to someone who doesn’t know how to do it.
~ How complete were your instructions?
~ Did you remember to sort the clothes, look at tags for care instructions? Explain how to choose which temperature, how much detergent to use, how to handle stains and heavily soiled laundry?
~ Now write out instructions for something you don’t know about.
~ Rebuild a car
~ Learn to swim
Activity Scoring
~ Did you identify subgoals?
~ Were subgoals observable, measurable and realistic
~ Did you identify reasons someone would be motivated to put forth the effort to achieve this goal?
~ Did you make sure you knew what you needed to do and the sequence before launching into it?

~ Behaviors and feelings can be measured.
~ Number of times per day
~ Duration
~ On a scale from 1-5
~ Making goals small and achievable helps keep you from getting discouraged and gives you frequent rewards.
~ It is vital to know the who, what, when, where and whys of a behavior change and to put reminders around, because behavior change doesn’t just happen.

~ Effective goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Time Limited
~ Anyone should be able to look at your goal and say whether or not you achieved it.
~ Small goals that you can achieve in a week increase confidence and maintain motivation.
~ Instead of never eating sugar again, try cutting out added table sugar for a week. The next week cut your consumption of “sweets” in half. The next week, cut your sweets in half again… and so on…
~ You can measure intensity or quality with an anchored Likert scale
~ Make sure the behaviors you are trying to change actually will help you achieve the goal you are setting
~ Goals should follow the KSA progression
~ Subgoals need to be small and reinforcement should be frequent
~ If motivation wanes revisit the decisional balance exercise