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How to Set Mental Health Goals

No matter the situation with your mental health, working toward specific goals can help you live the life you dream of. Setting mental health goals is a great way to check-in and be mindful of your life. Setting goals can help you understand what is important to you right now. What are your hopes and dreams? What area of your life do you want to focus on and improve on? We are going to break down the process of setting mental health goals and how to achieve them!

Setting Realistic Goals

Goals have been proven to be a driving factor for success, but they must be intentional and realistic. It's always best to take a moment and look at the whole picture. Help yourself define your priorities and what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself, "What is important to me in my mental health journey?" “What would I like to do more of?” “What are things I can control with my mental health?” Once you have defined where you would like to be at the end of this journey, you will then become more confident in moving forward.

Next, set realistic short-term and long-term goals. Both are needed to keep you on-track. Short-term goals are those you can accomplish in a day or a week. On the other hand, long-term goals could take months or even years. Setting both types of goals helps you stay focused on the big picture while staying motivated through the little victories along the way. Here are some examples of both short and long-term goals to help you brainstorm:

Short-Term Goals
- Stick to a daily schedule.
- Write about what you are grateful for every day in your journal.
- Finish a household chore you've been putting off.
- Introduce yourself to one new person every week.
- Drink the recommended amount of water every day.

Long-Term Goals
- Improve or build a relationship with a friend or family member.
- Get out of financial debt.
- Earn an associate's or bachelor's degree.
- Run a 5K or 10K.
- Change your health routines.


Now that you know the benefits of setting goals, and have some ideas of what you want to accomplish, work on writing them down into manageable sections. Long term goals cannot be reached immediately; they must be broken up into smaller steps. Achieving smaller goals improves self-esteem and creates a sense of satisfaction and motivation to continue to move towards a long term goal. When writing mental health goals, it's best to follow the S.M.A.R.T method. This method helps keep goals clear, concise, and hold you accountable without feeling overwhelmed.

- Specific: Goals should be defined as much as possible. What exactly is the thing you are working towards, and what concrete steps can you take to accomplish this goal. Here is where you define HOW you want to be successful, WHERE you can achieve your goals, WHY it is important to you, and WHAT you will gain by accomplishing this goal.

- Measurable: Goals should allow you to track your progress and measure the outcome.

- Achievable: Keep in mind that your mental health goals should be attainable, yet challenging and drive you to be successful. If goals are too easy, you will find this process may not make a significant change in the way you wish. If goals are too complicated, then change may seem frustrating. Find the right balance to challenge and motivate you.

- Relevant: Keep the goals simple and mindful of the long-term goals you want to accomplish. Are these goals going to help you get to where you want to be?

- Time-Based: Your goal should have a deadline. Deadlines keep you motivated and on track to reach your long-term goals!

Share With Your Support Groups

Now that you have done all the work to write down your mental health goals, it’s time to SHARE! Encouragement from your support networks can help you stay accountable in achieving your goals. Keeping those close to you in the loop of your goals and struggles helps alleviate the problems that come with feeling alone in your journey. Let your team help you, encourage you, hold you accountable, and celebrate your successes!

Stay Positive and Track

Last, have hope that you can achieve anything you want in life regardless of your mental illness. Believing that you deserve an abundance of happiness and can get there by setting goals for yourself is the first step. Remember to share your progress with your team and give yourself credit for the effort you are dedicating to reaching your goals. We challenge you to begin this process by setting long-term and short-term goals to accomplish something amazing. You have the power and control to make your life the best it can be!

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