When planning exposure practice to test your new understanding and skills it is important that you have clear objectives in mind. When you are creating goals the following rules will help.
SPECIFIC – Vague objectives make for poor practice. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Rather than vaguely saying “I will overcome my fear of shopping centres” it would be more helpful to say “I will practice first with my small local shopping centre”
MEASURABLE – It is important that you are able to ‘measure’ your goals so that you can know when you have achieved your objectives. This also helps you chart your progress and plan further stages.
ACHIEVABLE – Overly ambitious goals can lead to increased anxiety which is ultimately counter-productive. Plan experiments that enable you to face some anxiety without pushing you TOO far.
REALISTIC – Be realistic about your goals. For instance, will you have the TIME to conduct a particular experiment on a daily basis? How likely are you to put the work in? Will daily life commitments interfere in any way with your goals? How can you work around this?
TIME BOUND – Plan to complete your objective within a certain time frame. Otherwise you may keep putting it off until you feel ‘ready’ or ‘relaxed’.