Smart Goals - Fact Sheet

Reaching Recovery Requires S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The ADHS/DBHS Behavioral Health Vision focuses on services and processes that enable individuals to reach their recovery goals.


“All Arizona residents touched by the public behavioral health system are easily able to access high quality prevention, support, rehabilitation and treatment services that have resiliency and recovery principles at their core, which assist them in achieving their unique goals for a desired quality of life in their homes and communities.”

Services are provided to members in support of individual recovery goals through individualized recovery plans. It is important to clearly identify recovery goals through the use of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals:

SPECIFIC – Who, What, When, Where, and How

  • For instance, if you indicate you will be addressing coping skills in treatment, identify specific types of coping skills (anger management, communication, etc.).
  • Identify specific clinical interventions you will use.

MEASURABLE – Intensity, Frequency, Duration of Symptoms

  • Indicate what sort of objective, quantifiable behavioral indicators will be used to determine if progress is being made in treatment. The measurable component will determine if the goal has been completed. Choose a quantitative format that best identifies what treatment you are hoping to accomplish (Example: "five out of seven days" instead of "60% of the time").
  • Short-term treatment goals work best to show progress over time.

ATTAINABLE – Is the member capable of what is being expected of him/her?

  • Set goals that are realistic and achievable and build on them over time.
  • Goals should be individualized and based on one’s abilities.

REALISTIC – Is your treatment goal a fair expectation?

  • Is the bar set too high or too low?
  • Is the goal something that a productive, functional member of society would be able to do? (Example: Expecting a "100% reduction in aggression" is not realistic.)

TIME-LIMITED – What is a realistic timeframe to complete the treatment goal(s)?

  • “Time-limited” is based on a realistic timeframe for completion.
  • Emphasis is on gaining the maximum benefit within a specified timeframe.