Grief is a complex emotion to process and can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways to channel our grief into something productive.
SMART goals may help us manage our grieving period. We can begin the healing process by understanding what SMART goals are and seeing examples of how they can be applied to overcoming grief.
Through these goal examples, you’ll learn how to set yourself up for success in conquering your grief. You will become more mindful of your emotions and regain control of your life.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART framework will enable you to develop practical goals for overcoming grief and loss. In case you didn’t know, SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Let us dive deeper into each SMART letter:
Loss comes in many forms, from the most devastating tragedies to the minor inconveniences of everyday life. While finding a silver lining in any loss can be difficult, one thing is certain: having well-defined goals will help you come out on top.
No matter how large or small your loss may be, the more specific you make your goals for overcoming it, the higher your chances of success.
Measurable goals are imperative: they keep you focused on creating positive outcomes and make it easier to identify any areas that need improvement. Measurement should not only encompass tangible goals, such as getting out of bed in the morning or taking time out of your day for self-care.
It should also include more small objectives like being kinder to yourself and expressing emotions honestly. These minor actions can go a long way toward healing; they may even lead you back down the path of joy.
Instead of aiming for the stars and reaching for unattainable goals, it’s best to set realistic ones that can be accomplished reasonably.
To avoid becoming overwhelmed by ambition, consider the reality of what you’re trying to accomplish. Being sensible with yourself will keep you focused on tangible achievements instead of lofty aspirations.
When you craft meaningful goals that echo your core values, it inspires and motivates you. Even in the toughest of times, staying the course won’t be a daunting challenge, as your core values will offer direction along the journey to success.
Creating a dependable timeline will ensure your progress is monitored and your goals are always at the forefront of your mind. Remember: success doesn’t happen overnight—it requires hard work and devotion which should be nurtured over time.
13 SMART Goals Examples for Overcoming Grief
Here are 13 examples of SMART goals for overcoming grief and loss:
1. Acknowledge Feelings
“I’ll take the time to acknowledge and validate my feelings of grief by writing them in a journal or talking about them with friends, family, or a therapist. I aim to do this at least once weekly for the next two months.”
Specific: This SMART goal explicitly outlines what needs to be done and for how long.
Measurable: You can write down the date and time you acknowledged your feelings.
Attainable: Acknowledging emotions is achievable and can be done in many ways.
Relevant: This statement applies to the process of overcoming grief.
Time-based: The individual has two months to reach this goal.
2. Understand the Grieving Process
“I will complete a course on understanding the grieving process by the end of four months. This new knowledge will provide me with better strategies to cope with grief, allowing me to move forward and start healing.”
Specific: You decide to complete a course on understanding the grieving process.
Measurable: You’ll measure your success by completing the course within four months.
Attainable: This is a realistic goal if you put in the necessary effort.
Relevant: This relates directly to your primary goal of understanding the grieving process.
Time-based: Four months are required to accomplish success.
3. Find Meaning in Loss
“I will strive to find meaning in my loss by the end of the following year. I’ll consider volunteering for a cause close to my heart, writing down memories and lessons I’ve learned since the loss, and creating a memorial for the person or thing I lost.”
Specific: This is specific because the person wants to find meaning by considering volunteering, writing down memories, and creating a memorial.
Measurable: Record both your thoughts and feelings regarding the loss.
Attainable: Having the time and energy to remember the loss can be difficult, but it’s feasible if done in manageable chunks.
Relevant: Finding meaning in loss is a way for the person to process their grief and move forward.
Time-based: The goal should be achieved by the end of the year.
4. Get Moving Physically
“I’ll commit to physical activities thrice a week for 30 minutes each session. By the end of 6 months, I hope to develop a regular exercise routine to help me stay physically active and healthy.”
Specific: The statement outlines the person’s objective, how to reach the goal, and the deadline.
Measurable: Ensure you set aside at least 30 minutes of physical activity thrice a week.
Attainable: The provided timeline is enough to get into the habit of exercising regularly.
Relevant: This goal is suitable because it helps you stay physically active and healthy during the grieving process.
Time-based: There is a 6-month end date for meeting this particular goal.
5. Avoid Isolation
“I’ll reach out to family and friends to maintain social connections despite feelings of grief. I will aim for at least three social outings per month or finding some form of meaningful connection with someone.”
Specific: The goal specifies the types of social connections to be maintained (family and friends) and outlines a frequency (monthly) as well as tangible activities (three social outings).
Measurable: You could count the number of calls, texts, and social gatherings to determine progress.
Attainable: It’s certainly possible to stay socially engaged despite the grief.
Relevant: Being connected to family and friends can help you cope with the loss.
Time-based: You should reach out to family and friends every month.
6. Discover New Interests
“I will create a list of 10 new activities that I can do to bring joy to my life within a month. I want to focus on learning something new, challenging myself, and engaging in activities that will help me develop a positive outlook toward life.”
Specific: The goal is well-defined, detailing the objective and how it will be achieved.
Measurable: Counting the activities on the list will provide a metric for measuring progress.
Attainable: With proper research, it is possible to find new interests to explore.
Relevant: This goal is relevant to overcoming grief by providing a way for individuals to find joy and positivity in their lives.
Time-based: There is a one-month timeline for completing the activity list.
7. Share Memories of Loved Ones
“I’ll take every opportunity to share memories of my loved ones with others this year. I plan to create a scrapbook, write letters to friends and family, or talk about them when the time is right. I hope to keep their memory alive for years to come.”
Specific: The SMART goal is clear. The individual knows they need to share memories of their loved ones.
Measurable: You will take every opportunity to share memories of your loved ones.
Attainable: This is doable if given the necessary resources and time.
Relevant: The goal is appropriate for the individual’s desire to keep their loved one’s memory alive.
Time-based: Goal achievement will happen throughout the entire year.
8. Make Time for Relaxation
“I will spend at least 15 minutes daily relaxing and practicing self-care. I’ll use this time to focus on one activity that helps me feel better, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or listening to music.”
Specific: The statement is to dedicate at least 15 minutes daily for relaxation and self-care.
Measurable: You can track the amount of time spent on relaxation.
Attainable: Anyone can take 15 minutes of their day, no matter the schedule.
Relevant: Spending time relaxing and practicing self-care can help with relieving stress from grief.
Time-based: Consider this goal ongoing; you’ll pursue it on a daily basis.
9. Challenge Negative Thoughts
“To maintain a positive outlook, I will challenge negative thoughts about myself or the world whenever they arise. This can be done by writing down and reframing the thought in a more positive light. I’ll give myself four weeks to practice this skill and see how it affects my overall attitude.”
Specific: The goal details the overall objective, what will be done to achieve it, and a timeline.
Measurable: You could track progress by noting the number of times negative thoughts are challenged and how those instances affect attitude.
Attainable: This is realistic, as it is possible to challenge negative thoughts within the given time frame.
Relevant: The goal is pertinent to promoting a more positive outlook during times of difficulty.
Time-based: There is a four-week window for meeting this goal.
10. Limit Social Media Usage
“I will limit my social media usage to 20 minutes daily within three weeks. This restriction will bring enough balance and encourage me to focus on my healing process.”
Specific: The person aims to limit social media usage to 20 minutes daily.
Measurable: You will have a set time limit for social media usage.
Attainable: This is possible because you have set a realistic time limit for social media use.
Relevant: The goal is appropriate because limiting social media usage will help bring balance to the person’s life while they are healing.
Time-based: This goal is time-bound because it has an end date of three weeks.
11. Connect With Others
“I’ll strive to actively connect with two other individuals who have experienced a similar loss each week for 6 months. I hope this will help me feel less isolated and remind me there is still love and support in the world.”
Specific: The SMART goal is explicit because it describes how to actively connect with two other individuals.
Measurable: You could count the number of connections you make each week.
Attainable: Making meaningful connections is absolutely doable.
Relevant: The goal relates to feeling less isolated and finding love and support.
Time-based: Goal attainment is anticipated within 6 months.
12. Journal Your Thoughts
“I want to journal my thoughts and feelings about the loss for a minimum of 15 minutes daily for three months. I’ll use this practice to help process my emotions healthily and constructively.”
Specific: The goal is easy to understand, stating the objective and how it will be met.
Measurable: You can check your progress by jotting down your thoughts and feelings for 15 minutes daily.
Attainable: This goal is achievable since it requires only 15 minutes of your time each day.
Relevant: This is relevant to your personal well-being as it helps constructively process and cope with emotions.
Time-based: The goal statement has a three-month timeline.
13. Create a Legacy Project
“To cope with my grief in an ongoing way, I’ll create a legacy project to honor the memory of my loved one within 8 months. My project will comfort my family and me and remind me how much we cherish our loved one.”
Specific: The aim is to create a legacy project within 8 months.
Measurable: Progress can be measured based on the completion of project tasks.
Attainable: The realistic timeline allows enough time to finish the project.
Relevant: This is a meaningful way to cope with grief and honor the memory of a loved one.
Time-based: Achievement of this goal is expected after 8 months.
Dealing with the grief of losing a loved one is never easy, but establishing SMART goals can ensure your healing process is as successful as possible.
Take the time to reflect on your experience with grief, identify what you want from the future, and then use SMART goals to get there.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re taking proactive steps toward honoring your loss and becoming stronger in its wake.
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