13 SMART Goals Examples for Overcoming Your OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be debilitating and affects many aspects of life. It is characterized by intrusive thoughts, urges, and behaviors that can interfere with daily functioning.

Developing SMART goals can help to create an action plan for overcoming OCD and achieving better health. In this post, we will cover examples of SMART goals for living with OCD.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART framework will enable you to establish practical goals for overcoming OCD. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Let’s explain more about each SMART criterion:


For individuals with OCD, setting specific goals can be particularly helpful in managing symptoms and achieving desired outcomes. When you have a clear direction, it becomes easier to progress toward your objectives.

For example, if you aim to “reduce hand washing behaviors by 50%,” you can create a step-by-step plan for success, such as using a timer or distraction techniques. This level of specificity encourages you to stay hyper-focused on what must be done.


Measurable goals allow for greater focus and motivation. You’ll be able to celebrate small wins, which can help keep spirits high throughout the process. Without this criterion, it may feel like progress isn’t being made or like there’s no end in sight. This lack of clarity may even lead to burnout over time.


Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and even worsen your symptoms. Remember to approach goal setting with a clear understanding of what you can realistically achieve.

Tackle each step one by one. From there, you can continue building on that success until you eventually reach your desired destination.


Creating relevant goals that align with your values is vital to living a fulfilling life. Goals that center around your personal values will drive you to attain them. After all, it’s easier to push through challenging times when you have a strong sense of purpose.


A robust timeline is essential for staying accountable on your journey to success. It helps you prioritize tasks and allocate time efficiently to avoid getting overwhelmed. You’ll have a better chance of accomplishing your desired results.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Overcoming Your OCD

Below you’ll find some examples of SMART goals for overcoming OCD:

1. Identify Your Triggers

“I will observe my behavior and identify three triggers that lead to me engaging in obsessive-compulsive behaviors within two months. I’ll note the time, environment, and emotions connected to the behavior to better understand my patterns.”

Specific: The individual knows to make observations and identify their triggers.

Measurable: Once three triggers have been identified, the goal has been accomplished.

Attainable: This is feasible in two months, given the person can access the necessary resources and tools.

Relevant: Identifying triggers is an essential step in overcoming OCD.

Time-based: The SMART statement has a two-month timeline for completion.

2. Develop Coping Strategies

“I want to create and practice coping strategies for handling OCD-related anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I will practice these strategies at least twice a week for the next three months to see what works best for me.”

Specific: The aim is explicit about what coping strategies will be used and how often they’ll be practiced.

Measurable: You can keep a log of how often you practice the coping strategies.

Attainable: This goal is achievable because it is realistic to practice coping strategies several times a week for three months.

Relevant: This is relevant for decreasing OCD-related anxiety and intrusive thoughts.

Time-based: Success is expected after three whole months.

3. Build Confidence in Yourself

“For 8 months, I will take steps to build confidence in myself by participating in activities that challenge me and help me grow. I’ll keep an optimistic attitude, focus on my strengths, and set realistic expectations that are within reach.”

Specific: The goal is clear. The individual knows they need to build confidence in themselves by participating in activities that help them grow.

Measurable: You’ll partake in activities that challenge and help you grow for 8 months.

Attainable: This is absolutely doable with the right mindset and dedication.

Relevant: More self-confidence will help the individual in many aspects of life.

Time-based: The statement should be achieved within 8 months.

4. Challenge Unhelpful Thinking

“I will identify different types of unhelpful thinking and try to challenge them with healthier thoughts. Within two months, I should be able to monitor the thought patterns that cause me to think in an unhelpful way.”

Specific: You have a plan to identify and challenge unhelpful thinking.

Measurable: Make sure you can monitor your thought patterns after two months.

Attainable: Assuming that you put in the work, this is definitely reasonable.

Relevant: This goal relates to your primary objective of changing your thinking patterns.

Time-based: You should expect goal achievement within two months.

5. Build New Habits

“I want to find and implement a daily habit of relaxation or mindfulness. I will practice this habit consistently for three months to reduce my anxiety and help me manage my OCD.”

Specific: You have identified a particular practice, such as mindfulness or relaxation, that can help reduce anxiety.

Measurable: The person can evaluate their success in sticking to their daily practice.

Attainable: Building a new habit is possible if the person makes an effort to stick to their routine.

Relevant: This SMART goal is appropriate, as it focuses on finding a way to manage their OCD.

Time-based: The habit must be practiced consistently for three months.

6. Seek Professional Help

“I will schedule appointments with an OCD specialist to regularly receive counseling and therapy by the end of one month. I hope this medical approach will help me better cope with my OCD symptoms and better understand the disorder.”

Specific: This is explicit because you have identified a goal to seek professional help and outlined steps to achieve it.

Measurable: Count the number of counseling and therapy sessions attended.

Attainable: This is possible as scheduling an appointment and speaking with a professional is relatively easy.

Relevant: Professional help is essential in treating OCD and gaining more insight into the disorder.

Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated within a month.

7. Find Supportive People

“I’ll find three supportive people in my life that I can talk to about my OCD and its effects within two months. I want to focus on finding people who understand and are willing to listen without judgment.”

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

Measurable: You should check the number of supportive people via conversations and interactions.

Attainable: This goal is achievable by out to family, friends, or even a mental health professional.

Relevant: This is relevant to overcoming OCD, as talking about the condition can help identify triggers and learn coping strategies.

Time-based: You have a two-month end date for lasting success.

supportive people

8. Learn to Accept Uncertainty

“I will start a daily practice of accepting uncertainty and embracing the unknown. I aim to do this for 20 minutes every day for two months to become more comfortable with uncertainty and increase my ability to handle it.”

Specific: The goal states the overall objective, what will be done to achieve it, and the timeline.

Measurable: You could measure the amount of time spent practicing acceptance.

Attainable: This is possible because it gives you a reasonable timeline and allows consistent practice.

Relevant: Managing anxiety by learning to accept uncertainty is essential.

Time-based: The goal includes a two-month time frame.

9. Manage Time Wisely

“I’ll learn and practice effective time management strategies that help me manage my OCD symptoms within 8 weeks. That will involve creating a routine, setting and following through on deadlines, and avoiding multitasking.”

Specific: The individual wants to practice effective time management strategies to manage their OCD symptoms.

Measurable: This goal is quantifiable because it involves creating a routine, setting and following through with deadlines, and avoiding multitasking.

Attainable: This is realistic as it does not involve anything unreasonable or impossible.

Relevant: Managing time wisely may directly impact reducing OCD symptoms.

Time-based: Eight weeks are required to accomplish this particular goal.

10. Avoid Self-Blame and Criticism

“I will reduce self-criticism and blame by identifying and replacing negative thought patterns with positive, affirming thoughts. Within 12 weeks, I hope to journal my thoughts and feelings to replace negative thought patterns with positive ones.”

Specific: This is specific because you aim to replace negative thought patterns with positive ones.

Measurable: Track progress by journalling your thoughts and feelings for 12 weeks.

Attainable: Promoting a positive self-image is achievable if you commit yourself.

Relevant: This SMART goal is suitable because it reduces self-criticism and blame.

Time-based: You have 12 whole weeks to pursue this goal statement.

11. Minimize Your Anxiety

“I will reduce anxiety for 30 days through mindfulness practices like yoga and breathing exercises. I want to recognize when I’m anxious and use these techniques to reduce my stress and help me think more clearly.”

Specific: You know what you must do (yoga and breathing exercises) and the context in which it needs to be done (when anxious).

Measurable: You could log how often you regularly engage in the practices.

Attainable: Realize that both yoga and breathing exercises are doable activities.

Relevant: Minimizing your anxiety is relevant to better mental health.

Time-based: Goal completion is expected after 30 days.

12. Foster Positive Environment

“I’ll foster a positive environment for myself that is conducive to healing and growth for two months. That involves spending time outdoors, avoiding stressors, and surrounding myself with supportive people.”

Specific: This goal is creating an environment that helps cope with symptoms.

Measurable: It can be evaluated by seeing if you’ve participated in activities that reduce stress for two months.

Attainable: Creating a positive environment is achievable and can be done no matter the circumstance.

Relevant: Fostering positivity is pertinent to the healing process of OCD.

Time-based: There is a deadline of two months for this particular goal.

13. Anticipate Challenges Ahead

“Within two months, I want to be prepared for any challenge that may arise due to my OCD by understanding the warning signs and triggers of a potential relapse. I will also create a support system and plan to help me manage my symptoms.”

Specific: The SMART statement is clear—be prepared for any challenge due to OCD.

Measurable: Assess the progress towards understanding triggers and creating a support system.

Attainable: The timeline set is reasonable enough to plan symptom management.

Relevant: This goal is crucial because it will give the person an advantage in handling their OCD.

Time-based: Two months are needed to reach goal accomplishment.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it is crucial for those struggling with OCD to develop SMART goals to overcome their disorder. The SMART system provides a clear path to success and can help you focus on making positive changes.

These goals will enable you to reach your desired objectives, providing tangible motivation along the way. Working through each goal and taking pride in accomplishing it will ultimately lead to successful recovery from OCD.

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