If you’ve had experience with mental illness, or have people in your life that struggle with mental illness, you know how tough funks can be.
When you are struggling to just make it through the day, thinking about goals can be the last thing on your mind.
It turns out that goal setting can actually be beneficial to your mental health. Today we are going to dive into how exactly this can help keep your mental health on track.
4 Ways Goal Setting Can Be Beneficial To Your Mental Health
There are four main ways that goal setting helps your mental health that we are going to discuss in this post.
From distracting you from your current emotions, to celebrating yourself, there are a variety of benefits waiting for you.
These work for mental health goals as well as any other type of goal you may have.
It Gives You Something To Focus On
Goal setting can be an exciting rebirth of focus in your life when you are in a mental funk.
It gets you out of the dark empty thoughts and into a more inspired headspace.
Whether you are a planner or jump in head first when it comes to goals, you can have success despite your previous mental state with this renewed focus.
It Can Help You See Progress
One of my favorite benefits is getting to see progress.
You can see progress in both your mental health and your goal(s). Sometimes the progress is steady, and sometimes it can catch you by surprise.
The great thing about seeing progress is that it can continue to motivate you to see your goal through.
The more milestones you hit, the more you’ll want to go after the others until you find yourself achieving your goal.
The Feeling Of Achievement Can Get You Out Of A Funk
Reaching a goal that you have been working for is a great mood booster.
Sometimes it just takes that feeling of achievement, like you did something right, to get out of a dark place.
That is why it is important to celebrate your achievements, we’ll talk more about that later.
More importantly, remember how this feeling of achievement makes you feel. Savor this feeling and think back to it when you start feeling low again.
It Helps You Feel More Content In Life
The last way that goal setting can be beneficial to your mental health is by making you feel more content in life. Think about why you are going for the goal(s) you are setting.
More often than not, it boils down to wanting to be the best version of yourself or live the best life possible.
By focusing on, and achieving, these goals you are doing exactly that, which will make you feel a lot more content in life.
If you are not sure where to start, I thought I’d end the post by giving you a few tips.
4 Tips To Remember When Goal Setting
Keep these in mind as you think of your goals, while you are working on them, and even when you achieve them.
By doing so you will have an easier time going after the goals you want, even during a bad mental health funk.
Make them SMART
All of your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
If your goal is too vague it will be harder to figure out how to get there, and easier to give up on it as well.
- I will study for 30 minutes each weeknight up until midterms.
- I will eat a vegetable with every meal for four out of seven days.
- I will spend an hour each morning off of my phone by reading instead.
Give Yourself A Chance
When you are having a bad mental health day/week/month/etc., you may not be as on fire and motivated as you normally would be.
Take this into consideration when thinking about what goals you want to go for. Start small and work your way up.
If a normal goal for you is training to run a 5k, maybe this time your goal can be walking a mile 3 times a week.
Having someone in your corner to encourage you and keep you going is great to have when working on a goal.
This is especially true when you are feeling down and not in a great head space. They are there to remind you how strong you are.
They can also be someone you can lean on if everything becomes too much.
This is where having a therapist or counselor can be highly beneficial.
Therapy can not only help you understand yourself better, but it also encourages personal accountability. A good therapist will help you establish clear goals and develop strategies for achieving them.
Now, finding your perfect therapist can take quite some time, but the search will be worth the effort. The right therapist will work with you to establish realistic goals and achievable objectives, tailoring their approach to your individual needs.
Celebrate Your Wins
You want to celebrate the positive steps in between that lead you to reaching the big goal.
If you have a goal to workout three times a week, this could look like rewarding yourself with 30 minutes of reading time on the days you workout.
For more goal setting tips and tricks, check out these GenTwenty posts.
If you are struggling right now, I want you to know you are not alone. Try focusing on a goal and see if that makes you feel better over time. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of hurting yourself/themself or others, please seek help! Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-6264, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.