In the Spotlight
Path to Success: 'My Goals' Can Pave the Way
Do you want to make a life change, but are just not sure how to start? Have you attempted to reach your goals, but got frustrated when you kept running into the same obstacles? The 'My Goals' feature on My HealtheVet helps you succeed in achieving your personal aspirations.
Using 'My Goals' can help you:
- set up a structure to make a lifestyle change
- find where to start in achieving a goal
- determine the next steps you need to take or the direction you want to go
- track your progress, keep on course and stay motivated
- open the line of communication with your health care team.
What is 'My Goals?'
The 'My Goals' tool on My HealtheVet helps you identify, set, track and accomplish your personal goals. By breaking down big goals into smaller steps, you can have a clear, achievable way of reaching those goals.
"There are many things that contribute to your overall well-being," says psychologist Kellie Condon from the Greater Los Angeles Health Care System in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). " 'My Goals' works across many life domains. If you want to lose weight, become more social, take an educational class, improve your anger management or find more meaning in your life, 'My Goals' can help."
Anyone can use 'My Goals,' even if you're not a Veteran (but registration is required). Whether it's big or small, geared toward your physical health or finding inner peace, 'My Goals' gives you a plan of action, the tools to address problem areas and the structure to keep you headed in the right direction.
Why you should use it
Goals can seem daunting. You may be unsure where to start, the next steps you should take or what to do when you encounter roadblocks. "Frustration is one of the most common reasons people don't achieve their goals," explains psychologist Ken Weingardt from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. "When people start to struggle, often they grow angry because they're not satisfied with themselves or at a loss for what to do. They might lose confidence and give up. 'My Goals,' gives you concrete steps, which helps reduce frustration."
Seeing your goals and tasks set in writing can play a role in holding you accountable for achieving what you want. The 'My Goals' tracking feature enables you to chart your progress and note if you're sliding off track. Seeing how far you've come can further motivate you. Weingardt adds, 'My Goals' can be particularly helpful in times of transition, such as returning from service or going through a divorce."
How 'My Goals' works
To get started, the 'My Goals' feature can be found under the 'Track Health' tab on My HealtheVet. You can:
- create a goal
- identify the obstacles you encounter
- create tasks to overcome these obstacles
- determine your strengths and strategies to manage times when you struggle
- set timelines, reminders and rewards for achieving your goals
- view your current goals
- track your progress
- view completed goals
If you're not sure where to get started or the direction you want to go, many of the goal-setting steps have examples you can use. You can also prioritize goals to help you focus, yet juggle a few aspirations at the same time.
The information you add can be printed so that you can place it in visible areas in your home or bring it into your next medical appointment. Or you can download your progress and send it via a My HealtheVet Secure Message to your VA health care team. Whether 'My Goals' is part of a plan you make with your care team or is a feature you want to use on your own, you have a tool that helps you focus on achieving what truly matters to you.
My Goals User Guide (PDF)
Updated/Reviewed: June 24, 2013