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Setting SMART Goals

Nicole Seligman, M.A. | Clinical Extern

Have you ever thought about what thing you are really good at? Research suggests that if you optimize your strengths, you will see improvements in your relationships and enhancement in your health and well-being.* Although signature strengths are unique to each individual, research has identified three character strengths that are common in individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

  1. Creativity; Individuals with BPD have higher levels of originality during idea generation as compared to individuals without BPD
  2. Humor; Individuals with BPD utilize self-disparaging humor regarding one’s perceived weaknesses and flaws in an effort to facilitate social bonding. 
  3. Emotional sensitivity; Dr. Francheska Perepletchikova refers to individuals with BPD as ‘emotional super sensors’ that are sensitive to both their own and other’s emotional experiences. 

If you have BPD, on way to enhance your use of strengths in everyday life is by setting SMART goals. First, choose a Specific action in line with your strength, and ensure that it is Measurable and Attainable. Next, set a Realistic Time limit to achieve your goal. For example, a SMART goal for creativity might be writing the first draft of a poem by Sunday rather than completing an entire book of poetry at some undefined point in the future. After all, that book will be written one poem at a time. It’s important to break big goals into smaller ones. A SMART goal for humor could be attending a comedy group meetup this week. Clearly defined and realistic goals are more easily achievable. Take valued action now to capitalize on your strengths and experience an increase in engagement and positive emotions!

*Peterson, C. (2006). The values in action (VIA) classification of strengths. In M. Csikszentmihalyi, & I. S. Csikszentmihalyi (Eds.), A life worth living: Contributions to positive psychology (pp. 29–48). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Published March 29, 2019

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