Mental Health Month: Goal Setting
Mental Health Month: Goal Setting
Welcome to week two of Mental Health Month! If you missed our post last week on relaxation training, make sure you check it out for some helpful tips on dealing with stress and anxiety. This week, we’re focusing on goal setting, something that can be so valuable for both mental and physical health.
Setting goals might seem overwhelming, but it can actually be really helpful for identifying things you want to pursue. Having goals to aim for may help to give you direction, or something to focus on. Goal setting can also be particularly useful if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the things happening in your life, or if you feel as though you have lost focus.
Here are a few simple steps to follow for effective goal setting:
Define your goals
Defining your goals is the first step to bring change or improvement to your life. Goal setting can help you to make decisions and to give you a little extra motivation to put the effort into achieving them. Having clear and simple goals can help you to focus on the pathway to reach them.
When defining your goals, try to make them as specific as possible. For example, if you want to increase your fitness and lose weight, then you might set a goal to workout three times a week. That gives you a goal that is specific and measurable. Another example might be wanting to improve your diet, so you set a goal to prepare healthy lunches and snacks for each work day.
Break your goals down
Once you’ve thought of the things you would like to achieve, plan out the steps you’ll need to take to get there. By breaking down each of your goals, you give yourself small milestones to aim for, which can help you stick to your goals. With the examples above, you can check each day and each week off as you complete them. Seeing those check marks on your planner helps you to recognise your progress and give you a little extra motivation.
Set a realistic timeframe
Having a deadline, or end point, in sight can really help you to remain focused along your journey. For each milestone you have set, add in a timeframe you want to achieve it by to help you stay focused and to reduce distractions. If you want to lose a specific amount of weight, give yourself a realistic timeframe to do this. Setting a timeframe that is too short, or a goal that’s unrealistic, may cause you to feel stressed or leave you feeling disappointed that you couldn’t achieve it.
Track your success and your challenges
Tracking your progress is an important part of goal setting, and that includes noting both the success and the challenges. There is a lot of self-satisfaction that can come from your ability to accomplish your goals and to overcome obstacles along the way. As you gain confidence in your ability and settle into a routine, you may begin to draw many other positive feelings too, like pride and gratification!
By setting goals, you can create a vision of where you want to be and how you want your life to look. Remember, your goals should be meaningful to you. Try not to base them on what you ‘think’ you should be doing — if you’re not committed to achieving them from the beginning, then you may find yourself giving up quickly. The SWEAT forum can be really helpful for encouragement along the way, as you can ALWAYS seek advice or support as you work to reach your goals.
Best of luck!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.