Set caregiver goals for 2016 using the S.M.A.R.T. method

Set caregiver goals for 2016 using the S.M.A.R.T. method

Goal setting is a tool that you can apply to caregiving, no matter what stage of caregiving you’re at.

A caregiver action plan will help you achieve clarity and focus, optimize your resources, improve the use of your time, find peace of mind, fulfill your dreams, and many more.

Using the SMART method of goal setting will help you to become more likely to achieve anything you desire or put your mind to.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. In short, when setting caregiver goals:

  1. Be specific and clearly define your objectives about what you want to target and achieve.
  2. It’s okay to aim high, but establish a set of criteria for measuring your progress towards your caregiver goal. This enables you to track your progress as you get closer to achieving your end goal.
  3. Develop a plan with a purpose and clear steps to help you attain your goal.
  4. Be realistic about your ambitions and what you’re willing and able to work on towards achieving your goal.
  5. And finally, set a timeframe for fulfilling your dream and to give you a sense of urgency that will drive you towards completing your goal.

Here are some caregiver goals that you can set to achieve even more success in your caregiving in the upcoming year. Apply the S.M.A.R.T. method to these and other goals you may have, and you will see a roadmap to completion starting to develop. 

Take a vacation

A change of scenery is a great way to relax and de-stress from the daily grind of your work, personal life, and caregiving duties. Whether you’re going abroad or staying within the country, travelling anywhere as a caregiver requires careful planning and coordination between you, the person you’re caring for, and other people in your care network. Read our Elizz blog article on Tips for Planning Travel for the Mobility Challenged for advice on planning a vacation with the person you’re caring for.

Get in shape

Having a fitness objective to regularly exercise can help your body stay in optimal shape so you can keep up with everything that life throws at you. Exercise improves your stamina, energy, and strength – all things that you need to have when caregiving. Exercise for caregivers – Keeping active while caregiving is an article that outlines the benefits of an active lifestyle, and offers tips for getting started. If fitness is an objective you’d like to achieve, remember to track your progress and set a target date for meeting your goal.

Be a better communicator

Communication plays a large factor in all of your day-to-day interactions. As a caregiver, having good communication skills is vital to supporting the physical and emotional needs of the person you’re taking care of, as well as your own needs. If you want to communicate more effectively with the person in your care, the article 13 ways to improve your communication skills is a good place to start.

Get organized

If you haven’t already helped the person you’re taking care of create an advanced care plan, perhaps this is the year to do it. Creating an advanced care plan with the person you’re taking care of is the best way to ensure that their wishes regarding end of life care are met, in the event that they’re no longer able to make their own decisions. Read How to develop an advanced care plan on Elizz to get the conversation started.  

Grow your network

If Canadian caregivers formed an exclusive club, there would be 8.1 million members. With so many caregiving members, why do 74 per cent of caregivers feel that they don’t have access to caregiving resources? Reaching out to fellow caregivers is a way of sharing the knowledge you’ve acquired during your time as a caregiver, and it gives you an outlet to share your emotions, thoughts, highs and lows, and experiences with people who understand where you’re coming from. As we like to say at Elizz, caregivers are everywhere – all you need to do is look around. As the first step towards meeting this goal, we invite you to create an account and introduce yourself to other caregivers in our forums.  

Plan for ongoing self-care

It’s important to look after yourself in order to prevent caregiver burnout. Even the most fuel-efficient car needs to refuel at some point or risk running out of gas, and caregivers are no different. Even if it’s only for a few minutes per day, make sure you take a break to focus on your needs. Try to pick an activity that’s outside of your caregiving role, whether it’s reading a book, watching a favourite TV show, socializing with your friends, meditating, or even running personal errands. At first it may be difficult to get used to the concept of adding a little “me time” into your schedule, but in time you’ll find that self-awareness (taking care of yourself) is one of the best ways to take care of someone else.

Summary

Still unconvinced about the effects that caregiver goals and clear objectives will have on your caregiving?

Our Elizz caregiving expert, Natalie Strouth, writes that developing a caregiver action plan can help you maintain and improve your caregiver experience.

A caregiver action plan will help you achieve clarity and focus, optimize your resources, improve the use of your time, find peace of mind, fulfill your dreams, and many more.

Read our Elizz article Ready, set, goal: Creating caregiver goals and objectives, to learn more about the benefits of having a caregiver action plan and strategies for sticking with it (like S.M.A.R.T.).      

 

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