‘SMART’ Goals Are Barrier Breakers

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by Paris Dancy |

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The work I do in the field of mental health is unique and rewarding. Every day, I get to speak with people. Sometimes the conversations are good, and sometimes they are a learning experience. I have noticed that everyone has one thing in common, regardless of their education, socioeconomic status, age, or health status: Everyone has barriers to overcome.

As much as we would like to avoid them, we can’t. We must face them head-on to make progress in life.

I help my clients by being transparent with them about my pituitary tumor and my battle with Cushing’s disease. I have found it important for people to realize that they are not alone, and they aren’t crazy for feeling the way they do while going through difficult situations. One of the education tools I use for conquering barriers is called SMART goal setting.

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Here’s what that means:

Be specific

When setting a goal, be very clear, but make it simple. Don’t overthink it. For example, one of the areas I’ve struggled with is weight gain, so my goal is to lose some weight. This is easy to understand, and it is significant to me.

Make your goals measurable

To make a goal measurable, think of the motivating factors behind it. For me, losing weight would help me feel better, and it also would improve my overall health. All of my choices would have an impact on whether I would lose weight.

Are they attainable?

This is where I see many people set themselves up for failure. Many different factors influence how you set your goals. One might be a lack of support, another might be a lack of confidence, or you could have intrusive thoughts — the list goes on and on. The important thing to remember is that it is your goal, not someone else’s. Think progress.

How relevant are they?

Are the goals realistic? I believe that every goal is realistic to some degree, but for this column, think about whether your goals can be accomplished in the time frame you have set. Are resources available to help you achieve your goals? Another way to look at it is by asking how reasonable you think each goal is.

Are they timely?

What time frame have you given yourself to accomplish your goals? Do you take into account other factors? Is each goal time-limited or time-based? Always consider time and its impact on whether you complete each goal.

I will use my own goal to show you what this tool should look like when done the right way. My goal was to lose weight and improve my overall health within 21 days by incorporating intermittent fasting and daily exercise. The amount of weight lost was not important to me because I just wanted to see progress.

This is one thing I always tell my clients, because I don’t want them to be discouraged by failing to reach a goal. Progress is the key. For example, they may have improved in other areas without realizing it. They may have improved their time management, they might be more resilient, perhaps they developed a new healthy routine, etc.

We can use the SMART goal-setting tool in many aspects of our lives. It can help us build confidence, show us what we are capable of when we apply it, and most importantly, help us to overcome barriers.


Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


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