Is Setting Goals Good for Mental Health?

setting goals

We cannot be happy with life or happy with others unless we are happy with ourselves. The existentialists will claim that happiness comes from within, rather than from external influences which at best bring us temporary happiness. Happiness comes from having a true sense of purpose. Poor mental health can stem from a lack of purpose. Not knowing what we want to do can lead to depression. Oftentimes, we feel that there is an emptiness inside us, the cause of which we cannot put our fingers on. It could be a lack of purpose. That is why goal setting is good for our mental health, even if our goal is to find a sense of purpose. Here are some thoughts on the benefits of setting goals.

Is Setting Goals Good for Mental Health?

Something to look forward to

Aimlessness can be arrested by having even just one specific goal. Setting one smaller goal will lead to setting more personal goals. In the words of Lou Holtz: “If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” Aimlessness manifests in mediocrity and being average. None of us want that as our legacy.

Somewhere to go

Goals give us a vision of where we want to go and help us to take the first step on the journey. Without a vision, we will end up being in a place where we don’t want to be. Chances are, you won’t understand how you got there possibly until it is too late. A goal will light our way in life.

Dream big

Having a big dream or big goal can mean that while we may not achieve it, we will definitely achieve other goals in our attempt to fulfill them. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” –Les Brown. A goal should be big enough to take us out of our comfort zones which are a haven for mediocrity. Being mediocre leads to dissatisfaction and discontent without us knowing what we are feeling or why.

Goals inspire persistence

Failure isn’t being unsuccessful. Failure is not trying. Try, try and try again, is what you will do if you believe in your long-term goals. If you can’t keep trying, then maybe you need to adjust your goal. Accomplishing one goal will give you the inspiration and persistence to set and achieve the next one.

Don’t think small

If our goals don’t keep you awake at night it could be that they are not big enough. A goal should focus on attaining a significant achievement. It’s okay to start out small when setting a goal for the first time. However, as Michelangelo said, “The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Eventually, the satisfaction of achieving small goals will diminish and we lose motivation.

Goals have aims

Goals are a way of defining what we are aiming for. As Zig Ziglar pointed out, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” If we want to feel successful we need to know what success is so that we can recognize it when we see it. That is also why goals should be specific and, in many cases, have a deadline for achieving them.

Maintaining focus

There are always millions of reasons and distractions to take our focus off our goals. Therefore, it is important to focus on the one or two good reasons that we have for working on them. The idea of achieving a goal should outweigh any obstacle or delay. One way to do this is visualizing yourself and how you will feel when the mission is accomplished.

Moving forward

Having a goal to work towards keeps us moving forward. When we set out, reach, and celebrate the milestones we need to pass on the way to reaching our goal, they too will motivate us to keep going. When we are moving forward we are open to other ideas and suggestions, even a new way of living. It’s never too late to set a goal and keep moving forward.

Additional Reading: Mental Health in the Workplace

Blue Sky Counseling Omaha – Mental Health Counseling

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to discuss gambling addiction services in Omaha today.