Tag: occupational therapy

goal setting

My Favourite Goal Setting Tool

Get started by watching our free short video on Goal Setting for Parents.

I’m definitely one of those “goals” people. I love setting goals, I love reading about how to set goals and when I get emails from Amazon there’s usually a goal book in their list of recommended books which means that even when I’m not buying books about goals I’m checking them out online!

Now I prefer to support my local library and have started buying less books (one of my personal goals!). One of the books is Brian Tracy’s Goals and I listen to the audio book version in the car. I’ve gone through all the processes of writing out the goals each day and have been able to cross out 8/10 of those goals. Still my favourite goal-setting tool hands down has to be the COPM.

That’s the OT in me! COPM is the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. Unless you’re a fellow OT or other allied health professional I’m pretty sure you won’t have heard of this particular goal setting tool, but I want to give you a quick explanation and a link to get more information because I believe this can be invaluable in everyday life.

COPM is deceptively simple, which I love, it’s been in use around the world since 1991 and it’s available in over 35 languages! There’s a ton of research behind it and the underlying concept can be adapted to suit your own situation.

At it’s heart, the COPM asks you to look at different areas of your life – self-care, leisure and productivity. Here are some examples that could be used for a school student.

Self-care: While at school a student must be able to take off / put on school shoes, jacket, change into and out of physical education / sport clothes, open and close water bottles and snack containers, feed themselves, toilet themselves and more.

Leisure: While at school a student should be able to engage in enjoyable recreation and play (many will rightfully argue that play is actually in the productivity category for a child). Relaxation in-between active play, reading for leisure and enjoyment. Sports, crafts, music and art completed for enjoyment and personal expression rather than learning or skill development may fall into this category.

Productivity:  This category would include activities completed for learning and enrichment. Mathematics, language, literacy, science, social studies, arts, music, drama, and sports completed to develop knowledge and skills could be placed in this category.

This goal setting tool allows you to take in a wide range of factors when helping someone to set goals. Their age, interests, roles and responsibilities, environment, motivation, current level of skill can all be taken into account. The COPM is completely individualised. It allows you to measure performance on a task and most importantly measures satisfaction with your performance. While the COPM is a standardized test that is implemented by trained clinicians you can apply the idea behind it to goal setting in your own life.

  1. Problem Definition: What do you need to do, want to do or are expected to do but cannot currently do?
  2. Rate Importance: How important is being able to do this activity to you? Rate importance on a scale of 1 to 10.
  3. Choose Problems: Choose up to 5 of the issue that have been identified.
  4. Score Performance and Satisfaction: On a scale of 1 to 10 rate how you feel you currently perform this skill (1 is poor performance and 10 very good performance). Rate how satisfied you are with your performance on this skill (1 low satisfaction and 10 high satisfaction).
  5. Reassess: After working on the areas identified again self-rate your performance and satisfaction for each of these areas.

You can see these steps in action by jumping over to the COPM site where there are examples for each step.

You may also enjoy reading the author’s comments on using the COPM with children