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Solution Focused Goals

Goal setting can be tricky if you aren’t aware of the guidelines for success. Use the following model to guide you in setting your goals.


Well-formulated goals are a key element of success. When goals are worded properly, they can be powerful in their influence on the your ability to make positive changes.

There are five main components in well-formulated goals:

1. Small. Small goals are, by definition, feasible. They can be accomplished within the next week or so. Large goals are understandable, but cannot be achieved in the immediate time frame. To accomplish a set of small goals, one or two weeks at a time, is much better than to be defeated by a grandiose goal, no matter how worthwhile it may be.

2. Measurable. When goals are worded vaguely, we do not know when we reach them. When goals are concrete, it is obvious when they are achieved. For example, if you have a goal to be happy, reframe that into smiling more. People know when they are smiling and so do family members and other people around them. Being happy is much harder to define.

3. Positively worded. When goals are worded in the negative, such as the stopping of something ("I will stop arguing with my husband"), the goal itself reorients you to the problem behavior. On the other hand, if the goal is positively worded ("I'll keep my voice down when I disagree with my husband"), it has a strong positive influence on behavior.

4. Chosen by the person who is working on the goal. Well-formulated goals are chosen by the person involved, not a family member or helper. Many people have well-meaning family members, friends and authority figures telling them what they need to do. It is difficult to maintain self-respect and control of your change process when that happens. If someone tries to choose goals for you, kindly tell them that you appreciate their help, but will decide on your goals when you are ready.

5. Will take hard work. Making changes, even small ones, are difficult. By reminding yourself that it will take hard work to achieve your goals, you are being realistic. This will help prevent feeling like a failure if it takes a long time to accomplish the goal.

Want help with your goals? Contact me: or 443-203-8882

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