As human beings we strive to be the best version of ourselves. We are always looking for ways to improve, this might be to get a promotion at work or just to look at improving ourselves for our own environment or maybe even for the purpose of improving the relationships around us.
Setting goals can also be a great way of tracking our progress when either recovering from a mental illness or keeping ourselves active and moving forwards to avoid slipping into our low moods.
If you have suffered from anxiety or depression you will know how hard it is to function in a 'normal' way. The smallest of tasks can turn into the biggest of mountains and trying to find the energy to start them can be a whole day's work.
How do goals work?
Having goals focuses our attention on the things that we prioritise. They enable us to create a vision of how we would like our life to be and create the steps necessary to get there. By having an end goal to focus on we spend more time and effort into realising it through the small activities we set ourselves to achieve it.
Types of goals
Goal setting can be used in any and every area of our life. Below are a few examples of where we can concentrate our energy.
Artistic: learning a musical instrument, cooking, sewing, knitting, starting a photo album, writing a book
Business: improving work performance, gaining a promotion or changing careers
Collective goals: working on a community project
Community or volunteer work: coaching a sports team, starting a charity project or spiritual practice
Health: weight loss, diets (for example vegan, gluten free), training for an endurance event, learning a new sport, quitting smoking or reducing alcohol
Education: completing a diploma or degree, learning a new language, achieving certain results in school
Financial: saving money, reducing debt, budgeting, or achieving investment goals
Relationships and family: spending time with children or partner, reducing conflict or making friends
To make sure our goals do not have a negative effect on our mental health we should follow certain rules.
Have have heard of a SMART goal? These are explained below:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Realistic/Relevant
T - Timely
Smart - Your goal is direct, detailed and meaningful with a tangible outcome.
Measurable - Your goal is quantifiable, to allow you to track your progress and you should have a clear definition of success.
Attainable - Your goal should be challenging but realistic and you should have the tools and resources to attain it.
Relevant - Is what you are trying to achieve worthy to you? Aligned with your priorities and values?
Time - You need a deadline to keep you motivated to stay on top of the action needed to complete your goal, this needs to be realistic in reaching your goal to not encourage disappointment.