The beginning of 2024 brings with it a new year. A new year to try new things, meet new people, see new places, and perhaps most importantly, set new goals for ourselves to achieve within 2024. To achieve our goals and desired outcomes, however, they must first be planned and set out. Read on to learn more about how effective goal-setting and outcomes-focused care planning can help to improve the quality of life of people receiving a service within Social Care.

What are “Goals”? Can Goals be too Small or too Large? Can I Have too few or too Many Goals?

The great thing about any one goal, is that different people can strive towards achieving different goals. No one goal will suit everyone. No one goal will be of benefit to everyone. People can choose to set themselves whatever goal or goals that they want. No one can decide for you that any one goal is too ambitious, or likewise too uninspired. The goals that people set for themselves are always relative. Relative to their own personal ambitions, as well as that of their own abilities.

Of course, the turn of the year is the time at which most often set their sights on fresh ambitions and goals for the upcoming year, often in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. How many people do you know that say every year that they’re going to take up running, hit the gym, stop smoking, or just improve their fitness each and every year?

Fun Fact – Improving fitness is one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions according to Forbes!

The word "goal" is spelled out on small wooden square block pieces, with the letters being in a vivid red. They are sat on top of a corkboard, with a small red plastic flag pinned above them.
Setting goals is an individual process, allowing you to decide what goals are important to you. So, what goals have you set yourself for the year?

Setting Appropriate Goals and Outcomes within Social Care

Many goals and resolutions have the same desired outcome: to improve your health and wellbeing, and with it, your quality of life. The same can be said for setting goals and achieving outcomes for supported individuals who receive care and support services within the Social Care sector.

When discussing goals and envisioning outcomes within the context of Social Care, it is vital to remember the importance of setting goals that are relative to the supported individual themselves and their own lives. In order for a goal to be achievable, it has to be realistic. Ambition is undeniably a great thing to have, but overambition can end up being a demotivating factor in our lives if we are not careful when setting goals. If we do not achieve the outcomes that we set out to achieve, then we can ultimately end up feeling deflated, disappointed, and perhaps even disenchanted. By setting goals that we have the ability to realistically achieve, we give ourselves a better and fairer chance of obtaining the outcomes that we want, giving us greater belief and motivation to go on and achieve further aspirations in the future.

Why is it Important to Track Goals and Progress?

An-all-too-often overlooked element of goal-setting is the importance of regular review and tracking of progress. Just as Social Care Providers and their services are often reviewed by commissioners or regulatory bodies, such as HIQA in Ireland and the CQC in England, so too must the supported individual’s progress towards achieving their outcome(s) be tracked and regularly reviewed by the staff that supports them as part of their overall care planning.

Through regular review, you can evaluate whether or not the desired outcome is overly ambitious, allowing you to recognise if and when it is time to switch to a more appropriate, attainable outcome, thereby removing the risk of greater disappointment or upset down the line when the more unrealistic outcome is not achieved.

Reviewing your goals can also help you to recognise if another method of pursuing those goals may help you and make you more likely to achieve those desired outcomes.

Failure to review progress against your goals will leave you none the wiser as to whether or not what you’re doing is actually working and creating a positive impact on your life.

So the question is then, how exactly do you accurately and effectively track an individual’s progress and their outcomes? iplanit’s Outcomes module was specifically designed to do just that, and enables your organisation to assist the people that your services support to strive towards achieving their desired outcomes and living more fulfilling, independent lives.

To learn more about iplanit’s range of person-centred software functionalities and modules, click here!

A white stick figure person is climbing the final step of a small flight of stairs that are also drawn in white chalk on a blackboard, while "What's next?" is written in large font at the top of the staircase.
As you strive towards achieving your goal(s), it’s important to always keep track of your progress and look ahead to what’s next. Tracking your progress towards a goal can help to motivate you by reminding of just how much you have already achieved! The same is true for people supported in Social Care settings, and keeping track of progress allows our achievements to be celebrated, just as they should be!

The Importance of not Being Too Critical

Whilst it is important to be realistic about your goals and the likelihood of them ultimately being achieved, it is also important to not be overly critical and too harsh on yourself if you do not manage to achieve your outcomes.

Life can often throw obstacles your way unexpectedly. The same is true within Social Care. A person important to the supported individual, such as a member of staff with whom they share a close, strong relationship, may leave their role, or necessary resources dedicated towards achieving their outcomes may suddenly be made unavailable. Both of these instances are examples of unavoidable and unexpected setbacks that can often occur within the Social Care sector, neither of which can be prevented by the supported person receiving care.

There are of course many types of unavoidable setbacks and roadblocks that can occur, so it is important to remember that should anything happen that is outside of the control of the supported individual, then they should be reminded of the fact that they could not have prevented said setbacks from occurring, and that it is not their fault. Should a setback occur that significantly impedes the progress or overall achievement of a particular outcome, then it is a good idea to set another goal that is more likely to be achieved given the current situation and available resources.

Why are Outcomes Important to Supported People in Social Care?

Why do we set ourselves goals in the first place? Why are we always so keen to create challenges for ourselves? It’s simple: we want to improve. We want to do “better”. Ultimately, we want to live better lives.

The same logic applies to outcomes-focused care planning (as a component of an overall person-centred care plan). The individuals that Care Providers provide support to want to live better, more independent lives for themselves. Achieving a sense of “accomplishment” is massively important to supported individuals within Social Care services, as oftentimes there can be a sense of loss of control or independence when entering Care services.

By helping supported people to achieve a sense of accomplishment, their self-confidence will grow, alongside their self-esteem, both of which can and will encourage them to target further outcomes for themselves, helping them to develop their skills,and with it, their independence.

An outcomes-focused approach within Social Care ultimately aims to help people to do just that: develop and nurture their own independence. It ditches the old, outdated “time and task” approach that was formerly widely implemented across Social Care in favour of a more person-centred approach, which places the supported individual and their lives at the centre of care planning, rather than focusing on carrying out simpler, tick-box tasks.

Learn how iplanit Enables People Supported to Achieve Their Goals

While setting goals and hoping to achieve the outcomes that we desire for ourselves is an expected New Year’s tradition, outcomes-focused care is relatively new for Social Care Providers. However, it is unquestionably the way forward for the sector. If you would like to learn more about how iplanit can help and enable your organisation to assist the people that you support in setting and achieving their own outcomes, request a demo using the form below – or send us an email –