** TraumaSpeaks would like to thank WeCanConquerBlog for this special post. If you would like to see more, you can check their Instagram page: @wecanconquerblog**
The minute the clock turns 12.00 am on New Year's Day, the thought that usually runs through most of our heads is ‘how can I be productive this year’ or ‘what goals am I going to set this year’. Let me tell you that there is nothing wrong with setting goals but it is so important that you don’t set unrealistic expectations, particularly at this time with the unpredictability of life. If I were to have told you what my goals/expectations were for 2020, you’d have laughed at how unrealistic they were but also because of Covid, everything was halted. So, that being said I wanted to share with you some ways of how you can set goals in a practical and healthy way for your mental health.
1. I already mentioned this but make sure that your goals are realistic. What I mean by this is don’t set yourself goals that you know won’t happen/ are basically impossible for where you’re at right now. If you set unrealistic goals, you will end up feeling sad when they don’t happen and therefore this can have very negative effects on your mental health i.e. low self esteem.
2. A phrase that’s important to remember is ‘goals are a rough outline not the final thing’. In other words, it’s so important to just see your goals as a guide rather than something that you follow so strictly that you neglect your mental health. Goals are not ‘obligatory’ - they’re just there to help you feel more focussed in your life.
3. Goals take time to achieve. It’s okay if you set a goal and don’t achieve it within the first month. It may take you ten times before you fully achieve it. Like I said, your goals have to be somewhat realistic and the truth is, most goals that are set won’t be achieved the first time. An example that I think shows this perfectly is the goal to have ‘learnt to drive this year’. Whether it's something you want to start for the first time this year or even if you’re in the process of learning, getting your driving licence doesn’t happen instantly and takes a long time. Don’t stress on the timing/duration of your goals as you don’t know how long they will take to be fulfilled.
4. Set goals that are for YOU rather than someone else. You’d be surprised how many people tell themselves they have to achieve something because someone else told them to,in one way or another. Only set goals that are important to you and that matter to you, even if other people don’t understand them. Sadly comparison is something that is very prominent in today’s society and we often think we have to set a certain goal to fit in e.g. goals relating to health and weight. Take some time to really think about what you want to achieve this year. My goals are mainly focussed on my mental health because that’s important to me.
Overall, I personally believe that goals can be extremely beneficial to some people, particularly when someone wants to take a step forward in their life. That being said, it’s so important to not put too much emphasis on your goals. Achieving your goals in an unnatural way, can be harmful to your mental health. Make sure you take time to look after yourself this year!
~ Emily Green