How goal setting can positively impact our mental health

The new year can often bring goals and expectations that are impossible to keep up with. Instead of focusing on what you can’t get done, take the time to think about what you really want to accomplish. After all, goals represent things you want most, and the best way to make yourself happy is to set goals that are achievable.

The most important thing to remember about setting and creating goals for yourself is to have a plan for how you are going to get there. Ask yourself: how am I going to achieve this goal? Having big goals and plans for yourself is great, but in the meantime try to create small achievable goals that will take you closer to achieving that goal. Create a short timeline of steps to complete that will get you closer to reaching your big goal.

When you achieve your goals, you can feel proud of yourself and increase your self-esteem.

“Goals can do wonders for your mental health,” says Rebecka Warren, therapist at Centerstone. “The hope is that they can bring more happiness into your life and alleviate the difficulties you are going through at this time of year.”

Some of the benefits of achieving goals include providing a sense of direction, helping to hold you accountable, and shedding light on self-esteem.

When setting goals for yourself, it’s important to know yourself and your limitations. If you don’t consider aspects that are detrimental to achieving your goals, you could be focusing on failure. To help you on the journey to achieving happiness through healthy goals, here are some tips to help:

  • Know yourself. “Be honest about your ability to do something. If you know you haven’t been good at something in the past, be realistic in your goal,” Warren says. Avoid daily goals for things you haven’t done before, and start small. Try to work towards something instead of expecting perfection immediately.

  • Small goals. Take a look at what you have around you and start making smaller changes in your lifestyle. Instead of extreme elimination or extreme activity, try slowly offering yourself options and alternatives. “We need to focus on broad goals. Try incorporating something you can do into your daily life to help you achieve your goals,” says Warren.

  • Accountability team. People like to feel supported by their friends and family, and it often encourages them to succeed. Try to find a trusted person who can support you and hold you accountable on your journey to achieving these goals. Having an accountability partner is the best way to measure your progress and stay on track.

  • Healthy expectations. You only have so much control over your goals and the results due to external circumstances. Things like moving house, birth and death, and the weather can interfere with your goals. Try to accept and forgive yourself, and know that any progress is good progress. If you set a goal to do something five times a week and you only did it four times, that’s still an achievement worth celebrating. Remember, you can keep trying to build on those achievements!

Goals are not meant to cause stress and worry, so try to find something that makes you happy.

You have the power to create happiness in the future.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, Centerstone can help. Call 1-877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) for more information.

Curated by Centerstone Communication Coordinator Jeralyn Johnson.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: How goal setting can positively impact our mental health

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