June 17, 2024

S.M.A.R.T. Goals in Therapy

By Josh Wei
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Setting and achieving goals with clients plays a pivotal role in fostering growth and establishing an effective treatment plan. Among the various goal-setting frameworks, S.M.A.R.T. goals stand out as a great tool for clients to achieve the changes they desire. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals and discuss the benefits they offer.


S.M.A.R.T. goals provide clear and well-defined objectives, focusing on a specific area of improvement. Rather than setting vague intentions like “I want to be happier,” a specific goal might be, “I want to practice mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes every day.”


Identifying goals that are measurable allow individuals to track their progress and assess their success. By establishing a criteria, such as the number of meditation sessions completed per week, individuals can gauge their improvement over time.


Clients that are eager to achieve large goals often make the mistake of setting unrealistic expectations. While aiming high is not a bad idea at all, setting goals that are too ambitious or beyond one’s reach can lead to frustration and demotivation. Instead, focusing on realistic milestones ensures a sense of accomplishment and momentum. Imagine a flight of stairs. Each step represents a smaller, achievable goal that leads to the accomplishment of the larger goal.


Keep goals relevant as well! By choosing goals that resonate with their aspirations and aspirations, individuals are more likely to stay committed and invested in the pursuit of their goals. Cultural, social, and familial influences all voice their fair share of ideas of what success should look like. Identifying S.M.A.R.T. goals also include the work of filtering out any imposed or internalized expectations.


S.M.A.R.T. goals are also time-bound, with a defined schedule for completion. Setting deadlines creates a sense of accountability, motivating individuals to take consistent action towards their goals. With my clients, the week(s) in between sessions is often the time-frame to practice skills that were discussed.

Goal-Setting in Therapy

In therapy, S.M.A.R.T. goals serve as a valuable framework for collaboratively identifying and working towards desired outcomes. Therapists and clients can use S.M.A.R.T. goals to clarify objectives, track progress, enhance motivation, promote accountability, and celebrate success. Therapists provide guidance and support throughout the goal-setting process, helping clients develop strategies to overcome obstacles and stay focused on their path to well-being. Together, therapists and clients create a structure for success and change. Throughout the whole process, it’s also important to note that goals can change! By making space for flexibility, adjustments in goals and expectations can be made as therapists and clients gain more insight to the presenting problem.

Reach Out

It is so important to always make space for random topics in therapy and be flexible depending on what may be going on. However, in the grand scheme of treatment, having a set goal can provide a sense of direction and stability as the weeks go by. While S.M.A.R.T. goals are a helpful tool to achieve that, it is not the only way by any means! If you are interested in exploring and working towards any goals and would like to meet with a therapist for support, feel free to reach out!

Written By

Josh Wei

Ready to set up your first appointment?

If you haven’t been in touch with us yet, you can get started by filling out our intake form.