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How to Set Goals to Live the Life You Want

Welcome to another DBT skill because there's no such thing as too many! In this post I'm going to talk about setting yourself goals the DBT way. These goals are about you, as a person, there is no right or wrong way to do this and they can be as personal as you want them to be. I think the most important thing to take away from this post is to be completely honest with yourself.

The first step in this process is to remember this phrase and to keep looking back on it;

Know your values and priorities. Be unashamed and unapologetic. This is you. Set your goals by them and accept that they may change.

From here this whole process is going to stem from 14 categories. These categories are:

  1. Relationships (whether it be repairing, maintaining, starting or ending them)

  2. Being part of a group

  3. Having power and influence (being a leader, making more money)

  4. Achieving things

  5. Having a life of pleasure

  6. Excitement

  7. Being respectful (doing what you are told and treating others well)

  8. Being independent (making your own decisions, being free)

  9. Being spiritual

  10. Having security (home and health)

  11. Recognising universal good (open mindedness and karma)

  12. Contributing to your community (charity)

  13. Self development

  14. Having integrity (having honour, courage and doing what's right)

Looking at these four categories rank each one of them out of ten, 0 being not important to you at all and 10 being one of the most important things to you. This helps show you what your values are and already helps you to set out on a life which it build around your values and not the values of others or what values you "think" you should be living by.

From here write down a title for each category in the order of importance you rated them. So number 1 should be the most important category to you and number 14 should be the category least important to you.

Under each category try and write at least one goal. Now these goals are automatically in the order of priority.

As you can tell by the categories these goals aren't your typical list of things you'd like to achieve but instead a list which looks into your behaviour and who you are in the very core of your being. Much like a mantra, I find once you have completed the activity it is good to put your list up somewhere you see it every day. One day you might have to start the process again because priorities can change but just remember to look back on the quote I mentioned at the start. This is okay. It doesn't matter how many times you feel you want to do this exercise, the beauty of it is, it will never not be you.

This is your hierarchy of needs! Your own personalised reminder of how to be the best you you want to be.


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