Setting and Achieving Value-Based SMART Goals - dummies

Setting and Achieving Value-Based SMART Goals

By Freddy Jackson Brown, Duncan Gillard, Steven C. Hayes

Committed action is a core Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) process. It involves turning your values into actions in your everyday life. Your values represent what’s most important to you and the kind of person you want to be. Committed action is about behaving in ways that reflect your values, even when doing so is difficult or inconvenient.

For example, maybe an important value for you is being a loving and devoted parent. A committed action that reflects this value might be reading a story to your child at bedtime when you’d rather be doing something else.

To help you engage in committed actions, ACT recommends setting SMART goals to assist you in living a life based on your values. A SMART goal is:

  • Specific: Be clear about exactly what it is that you need to do (for example, take my son to Legoland rather than take my son somewhere nice).

  • Measureable: Set clearly defined criteria against which to measure your success (for example, we will have been to Legoland and enjoyed at least two rides together rather than we will have done something nice together).

  • Achievable: Ensure that your goal relates to something you can directly and clearly influence (for example, take my son to Legoland rather than make my son happy all of the time).

  • Realistic: Make sure that when you set a goal you have the time, resources and ability to achieve it. Also make sure that it’s not something so grandiose that it’s virtually impossible to achieve (for example, buy my son a photo of himself on a ride at Legoland rather than take my son to meet the Queen at nearby Windsor Castle after our trip to Legoland).

  • Time-framed: Establish specific dates or time periods so that you can hold yourself to account and ensure that you don’t keep putting off value-based action (for example, take my son to Legoland by the end of the month rather than take my son to Legoland soon).

Use the table to help you set value-based SMART goals. One example is provided to start you off.

While SMART goals are by definition time-framed, they can be of any duration, from one hour to one month or even longer.

Setting Value-Based SMART Goals
Personal Value Goal Potential Barriers How I Will Overcome These Barriers When I Will Achieve This Goal By
Friendship Send my friend Dave a letter of condolence following the death
of his father
Work and other responsibilities consuming my time and stopping
me from finding time to write the letter
Tomorrow night, when the kids are asleep and I’ve done
everything I need to, I won’t switch on the TV until I’ve written
the letter
The end of this week