Anger is a common emotion that everyone experiences. It’s often described as intense dislike, hostility, or resentment. When angry, people may feel ready to explode or become aggressive.
While anger is part of being human, it can become a glaring problem if left not appropriately managed. That’s why people with anger issues should start setting SMART goals to bring joy and success back into their lives.
Below we will explain what SMART goals are and list numerous key examples of SMART goals for anger management.
What is a SMART Goal?
On the path to enhancing your anger management skills, consider using SMART goals for a higher chance of meeting happiness and positivity.
Here is what SMART stands for:
Vague goals make it highly arduous to fix your anger issues. That’s why developing specific goals will help you control your emotions more efficiently. You’ll be able to zone in on what you are striving to achieve and better direct your efforts to the areas that matter most.
To check if you’re on course to goal attainment, you must have metrics to assess progress. For example, say your goal is to “avoid aggressive encounters at least 7 times a week.”
Then you could have a metric like “stop being aggressive with people once a day.” Doing so will help you confirm if your anger management goals are behind schedule or close to completion.
While creating ambitious goals is excellent, they can be challenging to achieve. If your ambitious goals are a stretch or perhaps entirely unrealistic, your goal of managing anger will be nearly impossible.
For instance, aiming to “reduce the average anger outbursts from 30 to zero in half a day” is unlikely. It’s much smarter to set achievable goals within your capabilities. But that doesn’t mean the goals should be easy. Have that goal fall in between challenging and attainable.
Make sure your goals are related to your overall values and vision. Managing your anger can be a means to support healthy relationships in your day-to-day life. Or you may want to be a better decision-maker in the workplace. Regardless, your anger management goals should contribute to lasting success.
Having a timeline for goal achievement is instrumental to success. Without a deadline, you risk losing motivation to progress toward lifelong dreams.
That would be a worst-case scenario, so try to set a realistic deadline to create a sense of urgency. You’ll be able to stay more accountable for meeting your objectives regularly.
12 Examples of SMART Goals for Anger Management
Below you will discover several examples of SMART goals for managing your anger:
1. Manage Your Triggers
“Over the next four months, I want to be able to identify my triggers and have the plan to deal with them. I will keep a journal to track my triggers and what sets me off.”
Specific: The individual wants to manage their triggers to avoid outbursts.
Measurable: You could measure how well you manage your triggers by tracking how often you have an emotional outburst in a day.
Attainable: It is realistic to manage your emotional triggers better.
Relevant: Managing your trigger will help you control your anger more effectively.
Time-based: This goal should be completed by the end of four months.
2. Work on Your Emotional Regulation Skills
“For two months, I will attend two anger management classes and practice deep breathing exercises for 10 minutes daily.”
Specific: This goal outlines what you need to do (attend classes and practice deep breathing) and how often you need to do it (at least twice and once daily).
Measurable: You could measure your progress by counting the classes you’ve attended and the days you’ve practiced deep breathing.
Attainable: Attending classes and practicing deep breathing is absolutely doable.
Relevant: Improving your emotional regulation skills reflects better anger management.
Time-based: Goal completion is expected for two whole months.
3. Develop an Anger Management Plan
“I will create a step-by-step anger management plan that I can use to help me calm down in three weeks. This plan will include activities like deep breathing, walking away from the situation, and visualization.”
Specific: The goal is to develop an anger management plan for your daily needs.
Measurable: The plan will be tailored specifically to the individual, and progress will be tracked by how well it calms them down.
Attainable: This is an achievable goal that can be reached with directed effort.
Relevant: An anger management plan is suitable for anyone with anger issues.
Time-based: The goal is to have the plan developed within three weeks.
4. Understand Coping Mechanisms
“For one month, I’ll aim to have at least three coping mechanisms in place. I will journal about my anger episodes and rate my level of anger on a scale of 1-10. This way, I can see patterns and figure out what works best for me.”
Specific: The goal-setter wants to have multiple coping mechanisms to deal with their anger.
Measurable: This is on track when the goal-setter starts journaling about their anger episodes and rating their level of anger.
Attainable: This goal is realistic and achievable.
Relevant: Understanding coping mechanisms will support a more balanced, healthier lifestyle.
Time-based: The goal will ideally be accomplished in a month.
5. Identify Supportive People
“Within a week, I hope to identify at least two people I can rely on to support me when I’m angry. These people can be friends, family members, or even a therapist. I will reach out to them when I need to talk or vent.”
Specific: This goal is clear and easy to understand.
Measurable: You will know you’ve achieved this goal by identifying at least two supportive people.
Attainable: You can easily meet this goal by thinking of people you can rely on.
Relevant: Identifying supportive people will help you feel less alone when angry.
Time-based: You should identify at least two supportive people within the next week.
6. Set Healthy Boundaries
“I will start setting healthy boundaries with people in my life within the next month. I’ll assertively communicate my needs and expectations. I will also say ‘no’ more often when I don’t want to do something or feel overwhelmed.”
Specific: There are actionable steps to setting healthy boundaries, such as assertively communicating your needs and saying ‘no’ more often.
Measurable: Ensure you are setting healthy boundaries with people in your life.
Attainable: This goal is reachable with intentional effort.
Relevant: Striving to set healthy boundaries will enhance your relationships.
Time-based: You should complete this goal in the next month.
7. Practice Self-Care
“I’ll strive to take care of myself emotionally and physically. I will exercise, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and take breaks when needed. I’ll also make time for activities that make me happy.”
Specific: The goal is detailed in what it asks the person to do to take care of themselves emotionally and physically.
Measurable: The person can track whether or not they are taking care of themselves by looking at their physical and emotional state.
Attainable: Self-care is undoubtedly something that can be done regularly.
Relevant: The goal is significant because it helps the person stabilize their well-being and emotional state.
Time-based: This is an ongoing goal. It should be something that is done regularly.
8. Challenge Negative Thoughts
“I’ll challenge my negative thoughts when I’m angry for 6 months. I will ask myself if my thoughts are realistic and helpful. I will also try to develop more positive and constructive thoughts.”
Specific: This SMART goal explains what the individual wants to do and how they plan to do it.
Measurable: Progress is tracked by the number of times the individual challenges their negative thoughts.
Attainable: This is a realistic goal as long as the individual is willing to put in the effort.
Relevant: The goal is pertinent to your life since it will help you fight against your anger with positivity.
Time-based: There is a 6-month end date for meeting this particular goal.
9. Learn to Problem Solve
“Until three weeks later, I’ll take a few moments to cool down after I get angry and then try to figure out what started the problem and how I can solve it. If I can’t solve it alone, I’ll seek out someone to help me.”
Specific: The goal is clear. The person knows they need to take a few moments to cool down and then try to figure out the problem. If they can’t solve it, they will seek out help.
Measurable: The person can verify progress by taking a few moments to cool down and then trying to figure out the problem.
Attainable: Anyone could attain this goal with enough time and hard work.
Relevant: The goal is appropriate for the individual’s anger management.
Time-based: Goal attainment will be met by the end of three weeks.
10. Stop Being Aggressive
“I’ll no longer allow myself to get into arguments with others for two weeks. If I feel myself getting agitated, I will take a step back and take 10 minutes to calm myself down.”
Specific: You will stop being aggressive and take a step back when you feel agitated.
Measurable: You can determine your progress by the number of arguments you get into.
Attainable: It is definitely feasible to quit being aggressive in your daily life.
Relevant: This goal statement is directly related to effectively managing your anger.
Time-based: Strive to accomplish this goal within a two-week timeline.
11. Start a New Exercise Routine
“Over the course of 5 months, I will walk for 30 minutes every day, five days weekly. I’ll start walking around my neighborhood and eventually work up to walking at a local park or nature trail.”
Specific: The statement determines what the individual should do to start a new exercise routine.
Measurable: The individual will walk for 30 minutes every day, five days weekly.
Attainable: This goal is possible with detailed planning and preparation.
Relevant: Exercise has been shown to help reduce anger, so this is a suitable goal.
Time-based: Goal attainment should be completed within 5 months.
12. Don’t Hold Grudges
“I’ll strive to work on forgiving people who have wronged me in the past, and I will try not to hold grudges against those who annoy or upset me in the future. I’ll give myself two weeks to cool down after an incident before forgiving someone.”
Specific: The goal is to let go of grudges you may be holding.
Measurable: You could count how many times you’ve forgiven someone by internally assessing if you no longer feel angry toward them.
Attainable: This is an accomplishable goal since it only requires you to work on your forgiveness.
Relevant: Holding grudges can lead to increased anger problems in your life.
Time-based: You will achieve this goal after cooling down for two weeks.
Plenty of people have a tough break when properly controlling their control in their professional and personal lives. But relying on a framework like SMART goals will be a powerful tool available to you.
Whether cultivating positive feelings or avoiding aggressive confrontations, developing SMART goals will help you knock down these goals one by one.
Take small steps. Over time, you will be in the right direction to leading a successful and stress-free lifestyle.
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