Stuck writing your goals? Try this!

Thanks for trying to be more specific with your therapy goals and targets. I appreciate your efforts. I’ll be honest: as a therapist I am ALWAYS trying to figure out what is unsaid in my office, what the client’s (unsaid) goals are, and if there is a way to meet them. I would be glad to accept the help you can offer – specificity about what YOU want to talk about, and what types of goals you want to be addressed. That said, clients can be somewhat reluctant to share actual goals.

Honestly, did you WRITE the goals from the last post, or just skim and kinda think??  Did you bring the goals in so we could take a peek and refine the goals? Exactly, because writing goals can be HARD.  I’m with you. Let’s figure out why you are stuck.

When I get pushback on goals, I generally hear the following:

  • I don’t really know what I want. I just want to feel better.
    • Yep, let’s see if we can contain/eliminate some of those symptoms of anxiety and depression that keep you stuck, and then see if some goals emerge. It is hard to think and plan when feeling depressed and anxious.
  • I’m so indecisive. What if I say a goal, and then next week I have a different goal?
    • Sure thing! Real life is a pretty flexible thing.  If you are working on a goal and life throws you a curve ball, I’m not going to say, “No, we can’t talk about the dumpster fire because we agreed to focus on your study habits this month.”  I’m going to help you manage the dumpster fire so you can get back to your original goals.
    • ALSO, if you tell me some goals, and then change your mind, that is OK! Sometimes we try a goal for a bit, and if it the goal isn’t right, we revise or dump it!
  • I don’t want to say my goals out loud. My goals kinda scare me. I’m afraid of what happens when others hear my goals (they might push me to achieve them; they might laugh at me; they might tell me my goals are impossible).
    • Yep, you are right. Others might not love your goals. No worries.  You don’t have to tell me your scary goals if you aren’t ready.  We can talk around them and make sure you have the coping skills you need to face your own fears, and face any negative blowback you receive when you share your goals.
    • Sometimes when you tell someone a goal, it starts to be more attainable, even the Dream Big goals. Actually, a couple years ago someone told me a goal that was laughably large, and that goal is now a reality.  And some of my goals you now experience: we have a nice office, we have 2 (almost 3 books) that make life better for others, and I have great colleagues at work.
  1. Try it again: write some goals. I’ll write another goal post for next week to mop up any remaining issues.  Because, obviously, goal setting can be achieved in 3 posts! (Seriously, if you have a goal setting issue you want addressed, please email me and I’ll try to weave it into the next post!)