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How Setting Goals 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’re not getting done, take the time to think about what you really want to achieve. After all, goals represent things you want the most, and the best way to make yourself happy is by making goals that are achievable.

The important thing to remember about setting and creating goals for yourself is having a plan of how you’re going to get there. Ask yourself, how am I going to accomplish this goal? Having big resolutions and plans for yourself is a great thing, but try to create small, achievable objectives in between that will get you closer to reaching that goal. Make a small timeline of steps to complete that will get you closer to achieving your big goal.

When you achieve your goals, it can make you feel proud of yourself and boost your self-esteem. “Goals can do wonders for your mental health,” says Rebecka Warren, Clinic Manager at Centerstone, “The hope is that they can add more happiness in your life and alleviate whatever struggles you might be going through during this time of year.” Some of the benefits to completing goals are to provide a sense of direction, help keep you accountable, and shed light on a sense of self.

When you are setting goals for yourself, it is important to know yourself and your limitations. If you fail to consider aspects that are detrimental to completing your goals, then you might be setting yourself up to fail. In order to help you in the journey to achieving happiness through healthy goal setting, here are some tips to help:

  • Know yourself. “Be honest about your ability to do something. If you know that in the past you haven’t been good at something—be realistic in your goal,” says Warren. Avoid having daily goals for things that you haven’t done before, and start small. Try to work your way up to something rather than expecting perfection immediately.
  • Small objectives. Take a look at what you’ve got around you, and start by making smaller changes in your lifestyle. Instead of extreme elimination or extreme activity, try to slowly offer yourself options and alternatives. “Broad goals need to be focused on. Try to integrate something you can do in 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 individual to help offer you support and hold you accountable in 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 outcomes due to outside circumstances. Things such as moving, birth and death, and weather can disrupt your goals. Try to be accepting and forgiving to yourself, and know that any progress is good progress. If you had 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 accomplishments!

Goals aren’t meant to cause stress and worry, so try to find something that will make 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 about our counseling services.

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