here’s my response to a client E-mail:
Hi …, I’m pleased for you that you’re taking the necessary, frustrating steps toward “How You Want to be Different than you are now”. Â There’s no special format, and there are some practical guidelines, as on the one page handout “Goals”, from that Pain book. Â I don’t think I yet have it on my laptop. Â You can expectÂ to continue changing them as you re-write them. Â If you’re “Trying” to write a “Correct”, the”Right” or “Perfect” contract with yourself, you’ll likely suffer, like someone trying to write The Great American Novel- it’s just too much to take on. Â Remember, Custer woulda’ won if the Indians had come ove the hill one at a time.
What’s Inside, your own thoughts, feelings, behavior & beliefs/attitudes, are really all a person can learn to control. Â So you can describe targets that are progressively more
1] specific, concrete & measurable;
2] with realistic time lines wherever relevant;
3] defined by particular observeable behavior[s] that show you’ve made the changes you intend [stuff you’ll be doing, instead of whatever you’re stopping];
4] under your control [i.e., possible];
5] Highly personally important; &
6] intentional = I will …
They can be short, medium and/or long term. Â Short term goals can be steps toward your longer term goals. Â We’ll help you refine your first-edition contract over time, to make your Goals more & more personal, definitive & useful, so you can rate your progress every 3 or 4 months on our shared system : 1 [where I started in group therapy] to 10 [when you’ve accomplished well enough what you intend].
Do phone other group members for support & suggestions– they’ve all wrestled with the challenges of deciding how they want to be different than they were when they started Group Therapy.