Goal setting is vital in the recovery of anxiety disorders and should be considered very carefully. Your goals should be specific, clear and precise and most importantly obtainable.
For example, imagine you are on a diet, there is no point in saying, I am overweight, I need to lose 3 stone. Three stone is a lot of weight, in other words a big goal, it must be broken down to something like ‘This week I am going to lose 2lbs, to do that I am going to take a walk everyday and make sure my portions of food are smaller than everyone else in the house!
Maybe you are agoraphobic and haven’t been out the house for weeks, it would be unreasonable to set a goal of; by the end of the week I will catch a train to London then a flight to Paris! It would be more sensible to say by the end of the week I will be able to walk to the front door, open it and take one step out while concentrating on my breathing and relaxing my muscles.
Maybe you are a hoarder, it is no good saying my goal is to start tidy and throwing stuff out! This is not precise enough. But by changing that to ‘I am going to clean out one small bin bag of stuff by Friday.
So let us set a goal for one week with 6 steps:
1. Pick ONE Goal: This is important! You can only achieve your goals if you focus on them one at a time. Once your first goal has been accomplished you can start on the next one.
2. Right down your goal in black and white. Make it official. Display it somewhere you can read it regularly.
3. You Have To Want It: If you don’t really want to do something, you won’t succeed. Pick goals you really want to achieve.
4. Be Firm and positive: To achieve your goal you have to be firm with yourself, You have to work to accomplish your goal. Be positive that you are taking steps forward.
5. Persist. Don’t give up. Be patient with yourself but also persistent.
6. Test your anxiety. Your goal has to be something that tests your anxiety, otherwise it isn’t really advancing your recovery. It has to something that makes your heart beat just that bit faster.
REMEMBER! The harder you stick at your goal, practising your controlled breathing as you are doing it, the easier it will get. DON’T give up, after all you do want to recover don’t you?