AS@W
AS@W Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace
Reactivating Your Life
Step 3 Set realistic goals

To succeed, your goals must be:

Specific

Depressed mood can make almost anything seem like a failure. You need to have a very clear idea of your goal so that you will know you have succeeded (for example, “go for dinner with a friend over the next week” rather than “become social again”).

Realistic

You may find it tempting to set your goals based on how much you think you should be able to accomplish. Don’t. Your goals should be easy enough to be achievable even if your mood is low in the coming week. Sometimes it seems overwhelming to think of starting a new activity. In that case, try setting the goal of gathering information related to the activity (for example, “find out what exercise activities are available at the community centre” rather than “start working out every day”).

Scheduled

You should have a clear idea when and how you are going to carry out your activation goal (for example, “Take a walk on Thursday at noon for 15 minutes” is much better than “Walk more”).

Consider setting one goal related to your job and one related to your home life. Remember: goals that help to improve the balance between your work and personal life are especially helpful.

Here is an example:

Frank started with two goals: slightly increasing his level of physical activity (from no physical activity to one short walk each week) and increasing his level of social activity (from no social activity to going out for dinner with his wife and daughter every two weeks). He used his appointment book to write in each of these activities. After he did each activity, he checked it off in his book.

Try setting some goals that would be realistic to do this week. Decide how often or for how long you will do the activity, and when you will do it.

It’s a good idea to write down your goals – you may put a note on your fridge, use an appointment book, or use a computer or PDA to keep track of your goals. When you’ve completed the goal, check it off to remind yourself what you’ve accomplished.

Think of your activity goals as appointments with yourself. Treat these goals as respectfully as you would an appointment with your physician. If you must cancel one of these appointments with yourself, reschedule immediately and don’t miss it.

Note: Do not give yourself extra credit for doing more than the goal you set for yourself. If you do more, that’s fine, but that doesn’t allow you to miss the next appointment. If you let that kind of trade-off happen, your goals will soon be neglected.

Frank started with two goals: slightly increasing his level of physical activity (from no physical activity to one short walk each week) and increasing his level of social activity.

 

Frank's Goal Sheet looked like this:

Goal Sheet (example)

  Activity How Often? When Exactly?
1 Walk for 15 minutes Once a week to start Thursdays on my lunch break
2 Going out with my wife and daughter Once every 2 weeks Saturday or Sunday evenings

Frank

Goal Sheet

  Activity How Often? When Exactly?
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may download the worksheets or the entire book for use on your computer or for printing out.