13 SMART Goals for Borderline Personality Disorder

There is no denying that living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be a complex and challenging experience. But by setting SMART goals, you can take proactive steps toward managing your condition.

SMART goals provide a structured approach to improve emotional regulation and enhance interpersonal relationships. This post will explore examples of SMART goals to navigate the complexities of BPD.

These practical and achievable objectives will be valuable tools in your journey toward better mental health and self-understanding.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART system enables you to establish practical goals for managing borderline personality disorder (BPD). For those unfamiliar, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Let’s delve deeper into each SMART element:


Creating specific goals for managing BPD increases your likelihood of achieving them. While precise goals provide direction and clarity, vague goals can be arduous to accomplish.

For instance, if you aim to boost emotional regulation, a specific goal could be: “Practice mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes daily for three months.” You’ll have a clear idea of what you need to do.


Measurable goals are essential as they allow you and any involved parties to effectively monitor progress. When setting a BPD management goal, ensure that it includes quantifiable criteria, making it easier to track your progress and success.


It is crucial to consider your current abilities and strengths when creating BPD management goals. Unrealistic goals may result in frustration and disappointment. By laser-focusing on objectives that fall within your existing skill set, you can set yourself up for excellence.


Concentrate on BPD goals that hold personal importance and resonate with your core values. Doing so will provide you with the motivation and determination to overcome any challenges that arise.

Try to ask yourself questions like: What do I value most in life? What brings me joy? Understanding your personal values can enable you to pursue meaningful goals in managing BPD.


A solid time frame ensures you stay on track and focus on your targets. Success is rarely met overnight; it requires hard work and dedication nurtured over time. Setting time-bound goals will help you remain committed to addressing your BPD effectively.

13 SMART Goals for Borderline Personality Disorder

Here are various examples of smart goals for tackling BPD:

1. Increase Self-Awareness

“I will prioritize learning more about myself and my triggers to better understand how my emotions impact my behavior. I’ll practice self-awareness techniques, such as journaling and mindfulness, for at least 15 minutes daily over the next three months.”

Specific: The goal is explicit and defines the daily self-awareness techniques to be practiced.

Measurable: You can count the days you utilize self-awareness techniques per week.

Attainable: Practicing self-awareness for 15 minutes daily is definitely achievable.

Relevant: This relates to increasing self-awareness and understanding triggers for behavior.

Time-based: Goal attainment is expected within three whole months.

2. Manage Your Emotions Better

“By the end of 7 months, I want to be able to manage my emotions better. I will practice mindful meditation and other stress reduction activities to help me better regulate my emotions and respond more appropriately.”

Specific: You have a plan on how to practice mindful meditation and other activities to control your emotions.

Measurable: Practicing mindful meditation and other stress reduction activities to regulate emotions.

Attainable: The person has the internal resources necessary to manage emotions better.

Relevant: This is an appropriate SMART goal because emotions are a significant factor when managing borderline personality disorder.

Time-based: You should anticipate goal achievement after 7 months.

3. Develop Healthy Coping Strategies

“I’ll practice healthy coping strategies for dealing with stressors related to my BPD, such as yoga or journaling, within two months. These strategies will allow me to work toward preventing outbursts or other BPD symptoms.”

Specific: The statement is about actively creating and implementing healthy coping mechanisms.

Measurable: Ensure you have one or two coping strategies within two months.

Attainable: Instead of completely eliminating stress, this goal focuses on managing it healthily.

Relevant: Coping strategies are essential for managing the symptoms related to BPD.

Time-based: This SMART goal should be accomplished after two months.

4. Reduce Impulsive Behaviors

“I will work to reduce impulsive behaviors associated with BPD by seeking out and engaging in more activities that foster self-control, patience, and better decision making. I’ll develop a plan to do this within three months and review my progress monthly.”

Specific: This goal is explicit since the person focuses on reducing impulsive behaviors associated with BPD.

Measurable: Progress should be assessed by tracking how often the individual engages in activities that foster effective decision making.

Attainable: Through active engagement in activities that promote self-control and decision making, this statement is feasible.

Relevant: Reducing impulsive behaviors is an important goal in managing BPD.

Time-based: Lasting success should be reached within three months.

5. Improve Communication Skills

“I want to enhance my communication skills by participating in a seminar or taking a course at the end of four months. I hope to be able to communicate my feelings and needs to better interact with others.”

Specific: The SMART goal is clear. The individual wants to improve communication skills to better interact with others.

Measurable: You can measure progress by tracking attendance and completion of a course.

Attainable: This is absolutely doable if given the necessary resources and time.

Relevant: The goal is appropriate for the person’s desire to interact better with others.

Time-based: Four whole months are required to achieve this certain goal.

6. Set Boundaries and Respect Others’ Space

“I will practice setting boundaries and respecting other people’s space, professionally and personally, within a month. I want to be aware of my body language and energy to ensure that I am not infringing upon another person’s sense of space and comfort.”

Specific: The aim is to practice respecting other people’s space and boundaries, both in private settings and at places of work.

Measurable: Ensure you know your body language and energy levels around others.

Attainable: This is a realistic goal to aim for, as it can be practiced and improved upon every day.

Relevant: The statement is applicable since it concerns the person’s behavior around others.

Time-based: You should attain this particular goal within a month.

7. Learn Stress Management Techniques

“To reduce my stress levels, I will learn various stress management techniques over 6 months. These could involve relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation.”

Specific: This outlines what you need to do (learn stress management techniques) and how often you need to do it (over a span of 6 months).

Measurable: You can keep track of the techniques you’ve learned and your progress.

Attainable: Learning stress management techniques is absolutely doable.

Relevant: Reducing stress levels will help manage intense emotions, which are common among people with BPD.

Time-based: There is a 6-month end date to accomplish success.

8. Identify and Challenge Negative Thinking

“I commit to identifying and challenging my negative thoughts and beliefs about myself, others, and the world around me by the end of one month. I will strive to replace these thoughts with healthier, more balanced perspectives.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, detailing precisely the objective and how it will be reached.

Measurable: You can observe the changes in your thought patterns and attitudes.

Attainable: This is possible as it can be accomplished through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices.

Relevant: This pertains to managing BPD as it encourages you to identify and challenge negative thinking patterns.

Time-based: You have one month to meet the SMART statement.


9. Avoid Unhealthy Attachments

“For 5 months, I want to work on growing healthy relationships with people and avoid forming unhealthy attachments which can cause emotional turmoil. I will list warning signs to look out for and small changes I can make when forming relationships with people.”

Specific: The person has identified a clear objective and warning signs to look out for.

Measurable: Set milestones and gauge progress by reflecting on the changes you have made in your relationships.

Attainable: Five months is a realistic deadline, giving adequate time to make the necessary changes.

Relevant: This is essential because it’ll help foster healthier relationships and positively impact your mental health.

Time-based: Completion of this goal should be achieved in 5 months.

10. Balance Needs With Responsibilities

“Part of managing borderline personality disorder is learning to prioritize the needs of others while also taking care of my own needs. Within two months, I’ll practice saying ‘no’ to requests or activities that take away my energy and time from the necessary things.”

Specific: The goal outlines what will be done and states what action should take priority.

Measurable: You can measure how often you practice saying no to activities that detract from your necessary tasks.

Attainable: This is possible by taking time to prioritize and identify the needs and responsibilities that require your focus.

Relevant: This goal is pertinent to managing borderline personality disorder and balancing needs and responsibilities.

Time-based: You have a two-month window to reach goal attainment.

11. Create a Supportive Network

“I will develop a supportive network of coworkers, friends, and family over the two months ahead. This support system can provide a safe place to discuss my emotions and help me be more emotionally regulated.”

Specific: You have a well-defined action available—develop a supportive network of people.

Measurable: Count the number of connections you make on a regular basis.

Attainable: This goal is feasible if you invest time and energy into meeting new people.

Relevant: Having a supportive network will help you be more emotionally regulated.

Time-based: You should anticipate long-term success within two months.

12. Embrace Self-Compassion

“In order to further my self-care, I plan to practice self-compassion and check in with myself each day for the next four months. I want to greet myself with kind words, forgive mistakes, and recognize when I feel overwhelmed.”

Specific: The goal specifies self-compassionate behavior (greeting yourself with kind words and forgiving mistakes).

Measurable: You could record how often you practice self-compassion each day.

Attainable: Self-compassion is an achievable goal and can be done through intentional effort.

Relevant: This could reduce feelings of guilt and shame that accompany certain BPD symptoms.

Time-based: The SMART statement should be attained after four whole months.

13. Seek Professional Help When Needed

“I want to seek professional help by scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional every month as recommended. I understand that my mental health is important, and I’ll take the necessary steps to ensure I’m in a positive state of mind.”

Specific: The goal is concise, explaining the objective and how to accomplish it.

Measurable: You can determine your progress by scheduling appointments with a mental health professional.

Attainable: Making an appointment with a mental health professional is feasible.

Relevant: This is suitable for tackling borderline personality disorder because it encourages you to find assistance when needed.

Time-based: Four months are needed to achieve this particular statement.

Final Thoughts

Developing SMART goals for managing BPD is a powerful tool in your path toward improved mental health and personal growth.

Remember that progress may not always be linear, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Embrace these challenges as learning opportunities and stay committed to your goals.

With persistence, self-awareness, and support from your mental health professionals and loved ones, you can make significant strides in handling your BPD and achieving a more fulfilling life.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.