Mental goals and goal setting is an effective way to help people work on their mental health – setting short-term achievable goals allows you to prioritize elements of your mental health, rather than feel overwhelmed at your options, or feel like you are facing an insurmountable obstacle.
By picking and choosing your battles one by one, you can make steady progress and focus on the process – inviting consistency into your life – rather than feeling like each day is just another drop in the bucket.
Setting the Right Mental Goals
Yet while mental goals and goal setting can help you improve at a steady pace, it is important to know what goals to set and how to define your goals. As we enter a new year, many of us are preparing our resolutions for 2023 and set out with a mission to meet them. But in many cases, people bite off more than they can chew. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind.
- Meet in the middle of specificity and vagueness. Your mental goals should be relatively specific, but don’t get caught up on a number. For example, you might want to improve your body composition, but that doesn’t mean getting down to a certain weight or a certain type of look. Maybe you want to read more, but don’t stifle yourself by going from barely reading to a goal of a book a week.
- Set short-term goals. A new year beckons for new annual challenges and goals but resists the urge to set a goal for the entirety of 2023. Start small; set a goal for January or a goal for the first quarter.
- Plan for a degree of flexibility. Things won’t always work out the way you might want them to, which is why it is important to program your goals with a degree of flexibility. Account for setbacks and challenges. When you are in a better mental state, it can actually be beneficial to set higher goals and expectations for yourself – to shoot for the moon, and land amongst the stars, so to speak. But if mental stability and well-being are two things you struggle with, focusing on easy wins rather than a lofty aspiration might be a healthier start to the new year.
- Orient your goals around mental well-being. Mental well-being is a lot more versatile than most people would expect. There are a lot of different ways you can positively affect your mental well-being and be more at peace with yourself.
Important Goals for Mental Well-being
There are good goals and better goals for mental well-being, but nearly all forms of personal, positive goal setting can be good for your mental health. Little wins in particular – by managing to perform to your expectations, or even surpass them, in short-term goals – can help you build self-confidence and self-esteem.
A healthier level of self-respect can be a great indicator of positive mental health, especially if you struggle with feelings of anxiety or insecurity. Here are a few mental health goals you can try to orient yourself with to make 2023 your year for positive self-improvement and long-term mental health.
1. Better Sleep
It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise, but many American adults have insufficient sleep hygiene and generally poor quality of sleep. In fact, as many as one in three adults don’t even get enough sleep to begin with, and half of all Americans report that they often feel sleepy during the day.
We need sleep every day. The body needs it, the mind needs it, and the brain needs it. Sufficient and high-quality sleep can massively boost your energy levels, your mood, your hormone production, and your cognitive abilities, from working memory to problem-solving. Poor sleep, on the other hand, is one of the greatest handicaps an adult can serve themselves. Poor sleep massively impacts mental and physical performance, affects mood negatively and has long-term negative effects on memory and cognition.
If you have problems managing a consistent sleep schedule and getting enough high-quality sleep, consider an appointment at a sleep clinic. Many adults have undiagnosed health issues that may affect their quality of sleep, including sleep apnea.
2. Working on Awareness and Mindfulness
Mindfulness is not just a vague representation of alertness or awareness – it is a skill that you can actively promote through habit forming and positive reinforcement.
Mindfulness can come naturally through activities that promote a psychological flow and active participation – but it can also be practiced.
Working with a mental health professional can help you improve your application of mindfulness on a daily basis, which can reduce rumination thoughts and negative mental feedback loops. Start out with something as simple as practicing active mindfulness through a stress-relieving skill that you enjoy, and set the goal of dedicating a few weekly timeslots to this practice.
3. Being More Self-Forgiving
Have you ever caught yourself insulting yourself? Whether it’s something as minor as calling yourself dumb for forgetting something, or a string of much more personal insults, a lot of self-deprecation can be harmful and may be a sign of deep-seated issues, from childhood trauma to a natural predisposition towards depressive thoughts and mood problems.
Make a point of actively avoiding insulting yourself and using self-deprecating terminology as “punishment” for minor mistakes or even serious grievances. It’s time to learn to be okay with ourselves.
Getting Professional Treatment
Goal setting and creating mental goals can be a great way to improve your mental well-being a day at a time. But there is only so much that self-improvement and self-help can do to promote mental health. Sometimes, we need outside support, including professional help.
Consider seeking a treatment plan through a professional mental health clinic if you or a loved one need to address symptoms of a serious mental health issue. Many mental health problems can be debilitating, to the point that they hinder employment and actively make living a normal life impossible. A professional residential treatment program, such as those offered at Amend Treatment, can be a stepping stone toward long-term recovery and a better quality of life.