New Year, New You?

It is the time of year when everyone starts to think about how they will be the “best” version of themselves. When you think about it, we are really just writing an ABA program for ourselves, only if you are like me the curriculum is from TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. You know, the evidence-based social platforms that seem to guide most of us throughout our lives. But let’s just say that we have decided to look outside of our favorite social media platforms and create new goals that will help us to shape our 2024 behaviors into a successful “program”. 

If you are like me, a lot of my time as a BCBA® is spent looking at goals, talking about goals, and analyzing data based on goals, but when it comes to my own goals, I am a little less structured and a little more haphazard. Until now, my goal has been for my goals to be written in a way that I can gain the most success. I know that there are different goal-writing processes, but I have always loved using SMART goals. Fun fact, I used to work for 4-H and we spent most of our time asking kids what their goals were for their projects and I used SMART goals with them as well. 

So what is a SMART Goal? 

A smart goal is written using a format that I believe is tried and true. The goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound. 

When I look at my own goals for this year, I will ensure that they are following this guideline. 

  • I am going to work to be specific in the areas I want to improve on. 
  • I will work on making them measurable, including ensuring that I have a good way to track my data. 
  • I will also make sure I am being kind to myself, and making my goal realistic in what I can accomplish. We know from working with our clients that an unattainable and unrealistic goal can lead to frustration and increased maladaptive behaviors. 
  • I also will work on making the goal time bound. Whether it is a month, a quarter or the entire year, I will make sure I have a date on which I want my goal accomplished. 

This same method can be used in our organizations, professional and personal lives, and with our clients. A goal that is well written can help others understand what we are working towards and, even if they are not specifically helping with the goal, they can better support us. 

So now that you have a template, what are your goals this year for yourself or your organization? Do you have a format for your goals or will the SMART template help you? 

~Dr. Anissa Jepsen, Ed.D, BCBA, LBA-SD

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