Goals are the fuel that help us believe in ourselves, sustain our ambition, motivate us to succeed, and hold us accountable. Without them you may find yourself going through life without having a sense of purpose. For example, you may feel stagnant in your career, bored in your relationship, or feel like there is nothing to look forward to on a day-to-day basis. Over time this can have negative effects on your mental health (low self-esteem, depression, loneliness) and outlook on life. Just as we prioritize goals in therapy, you should prioritize goals in your daily life. They can be as big or small as you want them to be as long as they feel manageable and realistic. Below are a few reasons setting goals is important to your overall mental health and happiness. Doing so will validate that you can succeed and feel accomplished.
A Sense of Direction
We are so busy doing our day-to-day that we don’t stop to think about the direction we are going. Is it really what you want? It is important to take time to reflect on how far you have come and think about what you want to see for yourself moving forward. You can start by asking yourself, “What next?”. Maybe you want to go back to school, find a life partner, have children, get a promotion, or make some friends. Setting clear and specific goals helps you feel like you have a sense of direction in your life.
Motivate You to Take Action
When you think of the goals you have for yourself, the natural next step is to consider how to achieve them. Let’s say your goal is to save up money for a car by the end of the year. You now have set a goal for yourself and have a deadline to work towards. Having something to look forward too and seeing progress over time keeps you motivated to meet your goals and even make new ones. If writing down your goals is helpful, make a list of what they are and the steps you need to take to achieve them. These small details are all part of taking action.
Hold You Accountable
Once you have written down your goals, you have a reason to accomplish them: to prove to yourself that you can do it. When you don’t accomplish your goals the biggest disappointment is with yourself. It is important to reflect on the goals you didn’t meet and see what could have been done differently. At the same time, you must also reflect on the goals you did accomplish and be proud. It is rewarding and uplifting to reach the goals you set for yourself.
If you are finding it difficult to set goals for yourself or accomplish them and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!