Tool 8 : Tips for setting goals 

The following are tips for setting goals when working with people with ABI.

There are more tips and resources in Toolkit B - “Getting it all Together” Working Together Promoting Independence This is a resource for workers working with people with TBI. It is on the wet site The Kit contains practical information and tools the worker can use to assist an individual with a brain injury to:

  • Identify issues and set priorities
  • Set goals
  • Develop strategies to achieve the goals
  • Monitor progress.

Factors to consider when developing goals

  • Client centred not staff actions
  • Goal development vs goal imposition
  • Giving exact behavioural description of goals
  • Stating goals positively rather than negatively
  • Creating short-term goals vs long-term goals
  • Looking at improvement vs maintenance.

Writing goals

Remember: Goals need to be specific, measurable and time limited.

Some examples are:

I will remember all my appointments in 2 weeks
I will have enough food in my house for all my needs for 2 weeks.
I will keep track of when my bills are due and pay them on time within two weeks.
I will identify places to keep things in my house so I don't lose them, in one month.

To achieve each of these goals would require developing strategies (and identifying any necessary resources).
For example to achieve: I will have enough food in my house for all my needs for 2 weeks
will require:

  • menu plan
  • shopping list
  • work with support worker
  • etc

The following are too broad and general to be useful goals:

  • independently use public transport
  • increase opportunities for social interaction
  • improve arm function
  • improve personal hygiene
  • improve cooking skills

How to deal with unrealistic goals

  • allow learning through experience (consistent with cognitive abilities and achievable goals)
  • develop compensatory strategies
  • investigate alternatives
  • set priorities
  • break into smaller steps
  • give clear feedback about progress/lack of progress
  • don't challenge unrealistic goals, try and focus on achievable smaller goals
  • link achievable goals with unrealistic goals (rather than challenging unrealistic goals)

(c) Copyright - See: Toolkit B. Working Together Promoting Independence -