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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

The How-To of Holistic SMART Goals: Social Goals



In our last blog post of 2023, we talked about holistic SMART goals. As a reminder, we talked about how SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. We discussed how the SMART goal format sets us up for success rather than confusion. Then, we saw 24 examples of SMART goals that aligned with the Wellness Wheel (review our blog series on the Wellness Wheel here).


Over the next few months, we’ll be discussing the “how-tos” of holistic SMART goals, showing you how to (1) identify your values in a given area, (2) examples of SMART goals in that same area, and (3) how to put your plan in action. Last time, we talked about environmental goals. Today’s topic is social goals. 


Like many Americans, your social life may be important to you. Humans don’t just socialize because it’s fun; socialization has tremendous benefits for your mental and physical health, not to mention our culture and survival! For example:


Maintaining a fulfilling social life has been shown to greatly enhance overall well-being, with studies indicating that individuals with strong social connections are 50% more likely to live longer. Engaging in regular social interactions not only reduces the risk of depression by up to 70%, but it also boosts cognitive function, as evidenced by research demonstrating a 50% decrease in the rate of cognitive decline among socially active individuals. Cultivating meaningful relationships fosters emotional resilience, with data revealing that individuals with a supportive social network are 3 times less likely to experience high levels of stress. Connecting with others obviously has significant benefits!


Want to set some holistic SMART goals for social wellness? The counselors at Rise and Thrive Counseling are here to help with three easy steps below!


Step #1: Identify Your Values

Social values refer to your beliefs and desires around connecting with others, whether you’re related or not. 


To determine your values in this area, consider these reflection prompts:


  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it for you to set social goals? Name why you’ve picked the number you did and not a lower number.

  2. How do you envision your ideal social life, and what steps can you take to move closer to that vision?

  3. What specific qualities do you value in your social relationships, and are you actively cultivating those qualities in your interactions?

  4. Do you have a healthy balance between socializing with others and spending time alone for self-care and reflection?

  5. Are you allocating enough time and energy to nurturing your social connections, or do you need to adjust your priorities?

Hopefully, these reflection questions help determine (1) if this should even be a goal for you, and (2) the beginnings of a goal of what social wellness could look like.


Step #2: Set a SMART Goal

Use the answers to step one to determine what your goal should look like. Here are some examples to help inspire you:


  1. Once a month for six months, I will meet up with a friend for lunch when we both are free.

  2. Once a week for three months, I will text a friend to maintain regular communication with them.

  3. Once a month for six months, I will attend a social event to meet new people, such as a book club, craft club, sport event, or something else I enjoy.

  4. By the end of June, I will schedule a session with a mental health therapist to discuss my social anxiety which is preventing me from seeking out new connections.

  5. By the end of next month, I will find a group, organization, or club I’d like to join in an effort to maintain regular socialization in my schedule.


Step #3: Your Plan in Action

After you form a SMART goal based on your values and intentions, it's time to put that goal into action. Based on the examples above, here are some ways to move towards your goal:


Goal 1: working towards this goal may look like assessing what friend(s) you’d like to meet up with, reaching out to that person and proposing monthly lunch dates, finding a good and regular time to meet, picking out restaurants prior to your visit, and texting the friend the day before to confirm attendance at your monthly lunch event.


Goal 2: working towards this goal may look like assessing what friend you’d like to increase/continue communication with, carving time out of your week to text this friend, coming up with topics to discuss, and setting a reminder when it’s time to talk.


Goal 3: working towards this goal may look like researching hobby clubs/events in your area, finding a social event scheduled at a time you can attend, purchasing tickets if necessary, adding this event to your calendar, actually showing up day-of, and encouraging yourself to talk to others during this event.


Goal 4: working towards this goal may look like researching therapists that specialize in social anxiety using directories/web searches, finding a few therapists that accept your insurance, scheduling a consultation call with more than one therapist, choosing your ideal fit, scheduling the intake appointment, and showing up day-of. 


Goal 5:  working towards this goal may look like researching hobby clubs in your area, finding a club that meets at times you can actually attend, finding the requirements for membership in this club, showing up day-of, and introducing yourself to other members of the club.


We hope this blog post helps you reflect on, set, and execute holistic social SMART goals in 2024! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.

 

I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.

 

I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 

 

Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.

 

Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)

 

All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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