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Setting Goals for Personal Problem Solving

Part of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

It’s important to be clear in your mind about your problems so that you can target specific attainable goals in relation to them. Try this acronym below – SPORT stands for specific, positive, observable, realistic and timed. Consider these five aspects when deciding your goals:

  • Specific: Be precise about when, where, and with whom you want to feel and/or behave more constructively.

  • Positive: State your goals in positive and pro-active terms. What do you what to achieve or work towards? What do you want to strive to gain in your personal life?

  • Observable: Consider how someone neutral could note that you’ve changed. What positive changes might you notice in your own thinking and actions?

  • Realistic: Make your goals clear, concrete and within your grasp. Focus on goals which involve changing your personal reactions to life rather than on changing others or life events which you have very little power over.

  • Timed: Create a timeframe to help you keep your goals in sight. Think about setting yourself clear times to carry out tasks along the way. Keeping a task-list with spotlighted times of when to do each task can help you to actually get on with what you need to do.

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