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Step 7: Approach Your Goals Through Small Steps

Home Study

  • The Don't Panic Self-Help Kit,
    Section P: Handle Your Physical Symptoms
    Section "Start Here": How to Design Your Own Program
  • Don't Panic,
    Chapter 18. Experience: The Greatest Teacher

How to create your own goal and give you a clear sense of purpose to conquer panic.These guidelines are for anyone who desires to control anxiety attacks and improve their ability to confront situations they currently avoid. This section will help those whose problems occur within panic disorder, a phobia, asthma, premenstrual syndrome, depression, or any of the other physical or emotional difficulties mentioned in this self-help program.

Here are the topics we will cover. Begin at the first one - "Set your long-term goals" - and progress through the fourth one - "How to practice your skills".

  • Set your long-term goal
  • Set your short-term goals
  • Create short-term tasks
  • How to practice your skills

Set your long-term goals

Panic exerts a force over you. It attempts to push you into a corner, where you feel trapped and afraid. To confront this force you must place some target in front of you, some positive goal to reach.

Creating your own goal will give you a clear sense of purpose. When you feel lost or confused, this goal can remind you of your positive direction. Let's decide to divide your goals into Long-term and Short-term. Long-term Goals represent your final desired outcome regarding your basic difficulties with anxiety. Short-term Goals focus your attention for only several days, weeks or months. Often there are several Short-term Goals for each Long-term Goal.

Identifying Your Long-Term Goals

  1. List all of the situations in which you have difficulty managing your anxiety and all the situations you avoid out of fear.
  2. Re-write each item to create a positive Long-Term Goal.
  3. If you have listed more than one Long-Term Goal, rank order them two times:
    • from the least difficult to the most difficult
    • from your most important, highest priority to your lowest priority

Start by identifying your Long-term Goals. Take time to follow these instructions, writing down each of your answers. First, list all of the situations in which you have difficulty managing your anxiety and all the situations you avoid out of fear. Then, re-write each item to create a positive Long-term Goal. Here are several examples:

CHANGE "I don't want to be scared in restaurants."

TO "I will feel safe in restaurants and comfortably enjoy meals with friends."

CHANGE "I'm anxious on planes."

TO "I will be able to regularly fly in a plane across country."

CHANGE "I avoid parties or large groups."

TO "I will feel in control at parties and will enjoy myself without drinking alcohol."

CHANGE "I'm afraid to drive far alone."

TO "I will feel confident as I drive alone any distance I desire."

If you have listed more than one Long-term Goal, rank order them two times: first, from the least difficult to the most difficult; and second, from your most important, highest priority to your lowest priority.

Last Updated: 30 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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