Conversation 6: Committed Action

Setting Goals

Setting Goals – a recording of Julian McNally (2:03 min) 

(Setting Goals by RMIT Counselling and Psychological Services, Six ACT* Conversations, RMIT University is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Exercise 2: Goal-setting

Your next task is to identify and connect up all the actions that move you towards a goal. You can do this with the same Value & Goals worksheet, now that you’ve completed it.

Take a goal that you’ve identified with the Values and Goals worksheet and write down the actions you need to take to achieve that goal.

For the purpose of this exercise, you may find choosing a 1-week or 1-month goal is easier to start with. The goal should be something that an objective observer could agree had been achieved. For example, “Make more friends” would not qualify as a goal by this definition, because an objective observer would need to know what your definition of a friend was, how many friends you meant, and by when it was going to happen.

Stating your goal as “By June, I aim to make one new friend at the Tennis Club, who I meet up with outside the club at least once a month” gives you something that you will know you either have or haven’t achieved.

If you could feel yourself getting a little nervous when I stated the goal that second time, don’t worry, that’s normal. Whenever you declare a commitment in a way that makes it sound like you mean business, it’s natural that your fears and anxieties show up. Vague goals, on the other hand, get you off that hook. In a few moments, we’ll show you how to deal with those anxieties.

When you come to writing down the actions, they need to be written as observable actions – in other words, something that we could record on video. So for example, “be nice to my little brother” wouldn’t qualify”, “apologise to my little brother” would be better and, “tell my little brother I’m sorry I lost his mobile phone and I’ll replace it this month” would fit the bill. Notice that that last one sounds like an action you’re committing to – and it means you’re going to do it whether or not you feel like it.

What can you do when you declare a goal or a commitment, but then feel frightened or anxious about starting it? Let’s find out.


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