Mental Health Goals
Making mental health goals can seem like a daunting task for someone who struggles with mental health. If you’re someone who suffers from anxiety, knowing how and where to begin can hinder you from even starting. Luckily, there are tips that can help you achieve your goals and start you on the path to bettering yourself.
Why are Mental Health Goals Important?
In an age where technology has allowed us to witness some of our society’s best and worst parts, our mental health has never been more critical. Whether it’s world events or what our friends are up to, social media has allowed us to become overly connected to everyone and everything. Absorbing copious amounts of this information can affect our mental health. We often find ourselves comparing ourselves to the ones we see on social media platforms. This can create unrealistic expectations of how we think our lives are supposed to look like. If you’re constantly analyzing and comparing on a daily basis, one could expect to have an unhealthy mental state. Or maybe you’re one of the few who don’t consume social media; maybe your job is overwhelming, or you might have familial problems.
Whatever the case may be, having these goals for yourself can be an effective way to cope with the stresses occurring in your everyday life. Not only can they serve as healthy coping mechanisms, but they can also allow you the ability to have new experiences.
There can be many benefits to setting mental health goals. Setting goals can lead to higher self-esteem and confidence. When we take the time to prioritize ourselves and our well-being, this can alleviate many stressors in our lives. Stress can be detrimental to our mental health and our physical health. When this stress is chronic, it can lead to issues harmful to our health. As more and more studies come out and our society becomes more vocal about mental health, the urgency to have mental health goals will become more prominent.
Create Attainable Mental Health Goals
The ultimate key to having effective goals for mental health is to ensure they are attainable.
So, how do we create these goals?
How do I start?
Your mental health goals should reflect who you are as a person. The best way I would suggest to start setting these goals for depression is by making a list. This could be on the notes section of your phone or laptop, or if you’re anything like me, you could use a good ole pen and paper. Ask yourself what you like to do or what is something you would like to do more of that you think will better your state of mind.
If you need some ideas on smart goals for mental health, here are ten ideas to get you started on your journey:
Once you have a list of evidence-based practices in mental health, pick one or two to start with. Now that you’ve thought about what you would like to work on, you can get more detailed with your goals. If you’re familiar with goal-setting techniques like S.M.A.R.T, this can be an excellent tool you can utilize to help detail out your aims for mental health. If you’re like me and are a more visual person, here is an excellent example of a step-by-step worksheet for S.M.A.R.T goals. Adding more details to your list will allow you to have a concrete plan to start executing, thus making it less anxiety-inducing to begin working on your goals.
How can you make your Goals Attainable?
So, how can you ensure that you are making these goals attainable? Remember that the crucial part of your goals is to alleviate your stress, not add on to it. What would be the point of starting something that will worsen your mental state worse! Because we live in a culture where we often compare ourselves to others, you may see someone participating in self-care on social media and think you want to be like them as well. This can lead people to make unattainable goals for the sake of trying to be like people they see online. Try to find something you enjoy doing without making it harder to enjoy. For example, if you love nature and believe that it will help your mental health, a logical goal may be to get outside more.
However, if you write down that you want to start running a 5k for one of your smart goals for mental health and you have never run, nor do you like running, this might be more stressful than it is relaxing. Maybe the better goal is to sit outside on a blanket for 30 minutes each day. Another example could be something as simple as getting out of the house. If you’re someone who works a 9-5 job only to go home and rinse and repeat the next day, maybe a goal of yours is to get out and explore more. This could be a way to meet new people and cater to your mental health. It could mean going to a meetup or going on a trip with friends you haven’t seen in a while. This doesn’t mean you have to do it every day or even every week if you’re not someone who likes to go out a lot.
Another thing to keep in mind when making attainable goals is to make sure you ease yourself into them and take your time. Just because you read an article telling you the importance of making sure you have goals for your mental health doesn’t mean you have to create a page full of commitments and start immediately. Hyper focusing on it because you want your mental health to be better won’t do you any good. It can actually have the opposite effect on your health, leading to additional stress.
Try and focus on the most manageable goal first and work your way up. When you’ve completed one, the confidence you get from completing it will make each one easier to start.
Our mental health is essential to going about our day-to-day lives. It’s not easy to prioritize yourself, and it can be challenging to sit down and make attainable goals when you don’t know where to start. And that’s okay! All it takes to start is a commitment to sitting down and making a plan. Making sure you focus on things you genuinely believe will help your state of mind, and easing into each one will make it easier for you to accomplish them. You know yourself better than anyone. Mental health goals do not have to be an overwhelming task, nor do they have to push you outside of your comfort zone( but it’s okay if they do). Your goals just have to be a way to bring more peace and contentment to your life. So, take a deep breath, believe that you accomplish your goals, and make sure
you prioritize yourself because you deserve to have a healthy mindset.