S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy is a popular method of setting and achieving goals. Widely used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Frame goal setting. There are many different types of goal setting, but the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy aims to create a clear vision of one’s goal and create an attainable path to get there. It is packed with motivation and easy maintenance to keep the client focused on the goal ahead of them. The acronym for S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy is explained below.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting in Teletherapy:
Specificity is key to S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy. The first letter, “S”, instructs the client to set a specific and defined goal for themselves. Precision is the intention here in place of generality or vague goals. Goals that are too broad require more energy and focus to accomplish, making them more difficult. Setting specific goals through S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy allows the client to focus better on one thing at a time. A good example of this is if a client says they want “to start exercising more.” This goal is too broad, and the therapist should ask the client to be more specific. Their goals should include how they plan on exercising and when.
The “M” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy stands for “measurable.” A goal needs to measurable so that a client knows when they have achieved it. Measurables include time, distance, frequency, and quantities. A client who says they want to start exercising every morning for at least 30 minutes has set a specific and measurable goal for themselves. This gives them clear boundaries for when they have achieved their goal and when they have not.
The “A” in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy stands for “Achievable.” This step is meant to deter a client from setting goals that are out of their reach. Setting a goal that is achievable will not only ensure that the client is capable of completing it, but that they do not get discouraged from trying. Setting a goal that is not achievable is equivalent to failing before they have even begun.
While everyone has a goal or a dream they hope to someday achieve, straying too far from what is realistic is dangerous. Realistic is what the fourth letter in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy represents. Sticking with the exercise example, a client who says they want to start exercising for 30 minutes, once a day versus a client who says they want to run a marathon by the end of the week are two very different things. One is a realistic goal that is specific, measurable, and achievable. The other would likely take months of training and dedication to complete to fruition.
The last letter in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy stands for “time frame.” This is the amount of time to which a client plans to dedicate to their goal. For a client whose goal is to start exercising every morning for at least 30 minutes, a time limit can help them stay dedicated. Planning for a goal that is set to last the rest of one’s life can be daunting. The client should instead say that they plan to start exercising for 30 minutes every morning for the next 30 days. Once the first 30 days are complete, they can set their next goal for S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy.
The Benefit of S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy is a great way to teach clients that the road to change and accomplishments are not always paved on a smooth path. As clients achieve these specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic goals, they will be faced with roadblocks along the way. Clients and their therapists can work together to get past these challenges and still accomplish their goals. For a client that often feels discouraged for like a failure, this can be a powerful tool to help them realize they are actually quite capable of change.
Prioritization of Change
For many clients, the idea of change is desirable, but actually prioritizing and seeing that change through to the finish line is very difficult. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy enables a client to learn what it means to prioritize change. It gives them a path to that change that is less intimidating.
Gives Clients Direction
Setting goal is incredibly difficult if you do not even know where to begin. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy gives clients a clear direction to move in and a plan to stick to in order to accomplish them.
Can Revitalize a Sense of Purpose
For clients that have been discouraged or feel as though that lack what drives them in life, S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy can revitalize their sense of purpose. It puts back in their hands their sense and ability to set goals and accomplish them in a way that is inspiring.
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting in teletherapy is an incredible tool for helping clients set manageable and achievable goals.
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