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”. There’s no special format, and there are some practical guidelines, as on the one page handout “Goals”, from that Pain book. I don’t think I yet have it on my laptop. You can expect to continue changing them as you re-write them. 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. 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. 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. Short term goals can be steps toward your longer term goals. 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.