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How To Set Goals And Obtain Them
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright 2000

People who are ill or are dying have a hard time seeing past the immediate problems they are having. Goal-setting is a positive way to take charge of your life, even if all you can do is gain an attitude adjustment. When you set goals and attain them, no matter how minor, you will gain a positive aspect to your life, which is better than dwelling on the things you cannot change.

Partially thought-through methods to gain your goals will often end in failure and add more stress on top of all your other problems. To gain a positive conclusion to your goal-setting, go through this worksheet for each problem you want to overcome.

  1. Choose goals to work on that will make a difference in the quality of your life.
  2. Don't waste your time on things that don't matter.
  3. Your choice of goals should be a matter of prayer.
  4. Often we can only see the problem from our own point of view. To make sure you truly understand the problem from all angles, ask others what they think the problem is.
  5. Now you know what the problem is. How would things be if they were the way you wanted them to be? Write these down. These become your primary goals.
  6. How would you know things were the way you wanted them to be? Write these down in detail. The details become supporting secondary goals to reach your main goal.
  7. There are many solutions to a problem. Develop a list of different ways to solve the problem.
  8. Consider your values, preferences, and resources, then, decide how best to reach your goals. Search for solutions to your secondary goals that you can live with.
  9. These become supporting goals that will help you reach your secondary and primary goals.
  10. Break down the supporting goals into doable small steps.
  11. Write them down in the order they need to be accomplished. Give the starting date and a projected finish date for each step.
  12. Commit yourself to start and finish each step.
  13. List things that you can do to reward yourself when you finish each step. Consider your resources when deciding what you can afford to reward yourself. Example: Take a bubble bath, visit a friend, or go out to lunch.
  14. Vary the types of rewards you give yourself. If renting a video is your reward every time, you may become a couch potato.
  15. Write down the requirements for getting the reward.
  16. Give yourself small rewards for accomplishing small steps and larger rewards for larger steps. Rewards are not bribery, but a pat on the back for setting and reaching your goals.
  17. Decide what consequences will take place if you haven't finished your goal by a certain time or if you slip up and do the unwanted behavior. Write this down in detail. Example: If I do not finish my scripture reading before dinnertime, then I give up dessert for the day.
  18. Before you begin a goal you should write down the primary, secondary, and supporting goals along with the start and finish dates, rewards, and consequences.
  19. Then, ask God to help you obtain you goals.
  20. Each morning ask God for His help to do better that day.
  21. Evaluate your progress with God nightly.
  22. Ask your loved ones, friends, and Visiting Teachers to help monitor and support your progress.
  23. Picture yourself feeling and acting as if you have already reached your goal. The more vivid the picture the better chance you have or reaching your goal.
  24. Try never to set goals which involve the participation of others. These goals are seldom accomplished since you are the one that is motivated.
  25. Don't quit because things aren't working out. Some goals may need some changes to make them work better. Review the effectiveness of each step and make changes where needed.
  26. Don't make goals that are so strict they don't leave room for effective living and goal attainment too. Bad Example: I will read one chapter in my scriptures daily for a week. This should read: I will read one chapter in my scriptures daily or 7 chapters for the week. This example allows for sickness or other reasons that would otherwise cause you to fail because of the strictness of the first example.
  27. Changes made in your life affect you and all you come in contact with. Some of those people may try to get you to remain the same, because the same is comfortable and change is threatening to them. Your change could make them look inward, seeing things that need changing, causes feelings of inadequacy and discomfort. Being forewarned is being forearmed. This warning will aid your ability to change in spite of others wanting things to stay the same.
  28. When you change for the good you will affect others more positively and, hopefully, help them want to change too. Remember, you cannot change others; they must do this for themselves. You can only be the catalyst.

Below is an example of goal development:

  • Primary Goal: Have an upbeat attitude, even when you are mentally and/or physically ill.
  • Secondary Goal: Surround yourself with things that give you comfort bad/sad days.
    1. Supporting Step: Wear your favorite color.
    2. Supporting Step: Keep items that bring you joy nearby, where you can see them.
    3. Supporting Step: Sing and/or hum along with upbeat music to help change your mood.
    4. Supporting Step: If you are able, exercise.
    5. Supporting Step: Read, listen to, or watch something that will make you laugh.
    6. Supporting Step: Breath deeply and relax to take your mind off your troubles and get more oxygen to your brain so it can think better.
    7. Supporting Step: Do something that brings you joy.
    8. Supporting Step: Be of service to others.
    9. Supporting Step: Ask significant others to help you find creative ways to keep upbeat.
  • Goal is finish when: The moment of depression and/or anger has passed and you are feeling better.
  • Reward: Pat yourself on the back and/or do something fun. Enjoy a happier you.
  • Consequence: End up on medication because you have become further depressed and/or angry, making your life unbearable.


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