• Lady J


Can we talk about setting goals for your mental health?  Have you heard of that? I was today years old when I realized this was a thing - again ironic.  We get caught up in trying to improve our physical appearance that we ignore trying to improve our mental health.  So let’s talk about setting goals for our mental health!

What does the word GOAL mean, how does that fit in with my mental health and how do I choose them?

Dictionary.com says that a goal is a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.  Goal setting, according to choicesinrecovery.org, is a process that will help you plan for the future and think about what you want out of your recovery and in your life. Now that we know what this is we need to figure out how to choose our mental health goals.  Below are a few questions that will help you choose them:

  1. Are your goals too ambitious or are they realistic?

  2. Are you willing to put in the effort to achieve your goals?

  3. How will achieve your goals?

  4. What areas in your mental health need improvement?

  5. What’s important to you?

  6. What do you want out of your recovery?

  7. What do your goals accomplish?

  8. Will you need support in accomplishing your goals?

  9. Are you willing to track your progress?

Now that you have figured out your goal(s) are, you need to know the pros and cons of setting goals when you are challenged by anxiety and depression.

The Good and Bad Of Goal Setting When You’re Anxious and Depressed

Let’s start with the bad news.  Setting goals can increase your anxiety because you may feel that your goals are difficult or unattainable and if you find them difficult, it could affect your self-confidence.  If you’re challenged with anxiety and depression, I would suggest that you make sure your goals are realistic and achievable and that you have a support system in place. When you become anxious about achieving your goals, turn to your tribe to help you refocus and encourage you to continue if it’s in your best interest.  If the goals you set are making you feel worse - stop and don’t feel guilty about it. Not achieving your goals or getting off track, can make you be hard on yourself and create a sense of failure. Again, don’t feel guilty if you need to stop because of your mental health struggles. You can always start again, the choice is yours to make. Trust yourself to make the right decision for your mental health.

What’s good about setting goals?  I’m glad you asked! Accomplishing your goals is a big deal and it feels good.  If your goal was to make all your therapy appointments in a month and you followed through - that’s a good thing! Reaching your goals can be a motivating factor to continue and make you a happy camper :).  Achieving your goals can also help you grow as an individual, give your confidence a boost - all of this can help your mental health.

The S.M.A.R.T way to Make Your Mental Health Goals

Templatelab.com, gives an easy to understand break down on how to use the S.M.A.R.T method.  However, you need to identify your first goal is.

Specific: State what you want to accomplish, why you want to do it and when do you want to start it

  • Ex. I want to go to therapy to learn coping skills that will help with my anxiety.  I will take one week to find a therapist and make an appointment to see them within 2 weeks of contacting them

Measurable: Determine what will be the ways to measure your progress.

  • Ex. I will mark it on my calendars and set reminders on my phone.  I will also tell my best friends so they can keep me accountable.

Achievable: Identify if you have the skills to achieve the goal and what is it that motivates you towards achieving the goal.

  • Ex. What motivates me is that I am determined to learn coping skills that will help me deal with my anxiety

Relevant: State the reason you are setting the goal and if it is aligned with the overall objectives.

  • I’m tired of anxiety taking over my life.  I want to learn coping skills so that I can take back my life.

Time bound: Identify what will be the deadline and if it is realistic or not.

  • Ex. I believe that I will be able to find a therapist to help me with my anxiety and make an appointment within 3 weeks.

A Few More Tips from ChoicesinRecovery.com and Templatelab.com

  • Actions for Obstacles: Mention the potential challenges that stand in your way and the solutions or actions that you would take to solve them.

  • Set Clear, Specific Goals: Having simple and realistic goals can help you focus and be more likely to reach them.

  • Take Small Steps: Break down big goals into smaller ones so they are more manageable and easier to reach.

  • Get Support: It’s not always easy to reach a goal—so some people appreciate help. Think about which people from your treatment team or support network might be able to help you.

  • Share Your Goals With Others: If you share goals publicly, you may feel more committed to reaching them.

  • Stay Positive: Having hope and believing in yourself can inspire you to accomplish your goals.

Being a goal oriented person takes discipline, self-awareness, dedication and patience.  If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression this may be hard for you, however, you’re stronger and braver than you know!  The very fact that you want to set goals to get better, is a huge fu#king deal, celebrate that Brown Girls!  

My 2 Cents

  1. As a Black woman who is challenged with anxiety and/or depression do you set goals for your mental health?  If so, what are they?

  2. If you set goals, how good are you at keeping them and are you disciplined enough to get back on track if you get off track?

  3. I’ll admit, I am not the best when it comes to setting goals.  I get discouraged and frustrated easily. I’m hoping to work on this in 2020.

Remember Brown Girls, you got this and you are NOT alone. 

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