Entering a new year allows one to reflect and select the direction for an improved way forward. Setting goals can fuel your motivation to work towards what is important. Identifying specific efforts can support you in taking the proper steps to make those desired changes. Physical health, careers, finances, and relationships are typically at the top of most aspiration lists. Now is the time to include your mental health goals when setting your intentions for the year.
Attending to your mental health will advance your emotional and social well-being, increasing your capacity to achieve your goals. Mental health underpins all facets of life and influences thinking, moods, and behavior. Your state of mind is interconnected to approaching and working on what you want. For example, being emotionally drained creates difficulty in finding the desire to exercise, connect with others, work productivity, and more. Good mental health reduces risks for several chronic physical health conditions. It is also important to note that significant physical and psychological health benefits are mutually reinforcing.
"Making time for your mental health is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others."
-Krystle Herbert, LMFT, PsyD
We must take care of our mind in tandem with other parts of our body. As you prepare your intentions for the new year, be proactive in prioritizing your mental health by developing new mental health goals utilizing the four steps outlined below to guide you:
- Have a clear understanding of your values, dreams, and aspirations to develop clear goals. Set and plan realistic and measurable objectives. Once you have your goals identified, consider breaking the longer-term down into smaller ones to build momentum. This will allow you to see frequent progress that can inspire you to keep going. Celebrate all wins, no matter how little progress.
- Avoid comparing your needs to others. Everyone has a different story and life path that creates variances in backgrounds that make individual perspectives and outlooks. It is essential to acknowledge that you are an individual whose needs are unique to you. Your needs will change as you grow and your point of view shifts. Seek what you require to set goals for a healthy journey that meets your individual mental health needs.
- Connect with yourself and examine what impedes your mental health. Be aware of things that prevent your healthy state of mind. Understand sources that cause you stress. Pay attention to and respect your feelings. Consider how you treat yourself. Be mindful of your outlook and how it guides where you concentrate your attention. Shift your focus to the opposite of what detracts from your mental health to develop a goal. Identify steps you can take to get where you want to be mentally.
- Seek help when needed. If you have given all you can to prioritize your mental health, then it may be time to look outside of yourself for assistance. It is critical to realize that some things require the support of others.
Making time for your mental health is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others. When you are in a good place mentally, you can give and receive thoughtfully. As you continue to move forward in this new year, make sure to set new mental health goals for 2022.