Setting goals can be exciting; it’s the moment where you might feel like community change is just within reach. While feeling eager to reach this stage is common, it’s important to make sure you don’t start setting goals too early in your Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ journey. By this point, you should have learned about the resources and shortcomings in your community and taken time to listen to the needs of your community from its members. If you have yet to take those steps, we recommend you first review other resources in the Healthy Parkinson’s communities blog including the March Resource Roundup (which focuses on listening to the community), Creating a Community Health Assessment for Parkinson’s, and Turning Data into Action posts.
Setting goals that are actionable and achievable is an incredibly important part of creating lasting change in your community. It’s easy to shoot for the stars and set goals that are exciting but nearly impossible to achieve, which can lead your Community Action Committee (CAC) to eventually feel anxious, exhausted, or even burnt out. In this post, we will lead you through information to consider as you develop and set goals.
Explore existing resources
There are many helpful resources available to help you develop goals based on community need. Some resources we found helpful are Developing an Action Plan by Community Tool Box; Creating Objectives by Community Tool Box; SMART Goals by MindTools; and Putting Your Solution into Practice by Community Tool Box. These resources are not specific to Parkinson’s, but they are extremely relevant in goal–setting.
Don’t be afraid to start with big ideas for the future of your community. Setting ambitious goals can build enthusiasm and motivate your CAC to see the big picture of your work. After you have set some large goals, you can work backward to develop a plan on how to achieve them. This concept is known as and is further defined as the Theory of Change.
Things to consider when setting goals
Below are some thought–provoking questions and statements to consider as your CAC is setting goals.
- What actions will take place?
- How big are the actions that need to take place to achieve the goal? Can the actions include several sub-goals?
- Are the actions specific?
- In what order should actions be taken to accomplish goals?
- Are there any steps that need to happen simultaneously?
- What resources will be needed to accomplish the goals?
Timeline and Evaluation
- What is the timeline for accomplishing goals?
- Are there hard deadlines?
- What information are you using to set timelines?
- Which assessment(s) will you use to evaluate this work?
- When and how often will data be collected to determine success of goal outcomes?
- Who will hold accountability?
- How will progress on goals be communicated? How often?
- Which CAC members will be involved in helping carry out this goal?
- Who else in the community can help achieve this goal?
As you work through the process of setting goals, consider existing programs and resources in your community. Not sure where to start? Consider joining our Healthy Parkinson’s Communities network to connect with and learn from peers across the country.