Setting Realistic Goals Benefits Your Mental Health

October 22, 2017 Martha Lueck

Setting realistic goals that benefit your mental health is hard if you struggle with anxiety and/or depression. Here are tips on how to make realistic goals.

Having realistic goals benefits your mental health, but many people with depression or other mental illnesses struggle to set goals. Read on to learn about how to make and keep goals that benefit your mental health even if you're living with a mental illness.

Why Do Goals Benefit Your Mental Health?

Goals that benefit your mental health are motivational tools that help you pursue your dreams and give you reasons to stay productive. Sometimes goals are based on responsibilities. For instance, you might set daily or weekly goals to complete assignments for school or projects for work on time.

Realistic Goals Benefit Your Mental Health

The hardest thing about setting goals that benefit your mental health is knowing how to make them realistic. Sometimes, you might think about what others are capable of doing and expect the same (or more) from yourself. So you make unrealistic goals, like completing a 20-page essay in one night or running a marathon in two minutes. Then, when you do not meet your goals, you either stress yourself out even more or you just give up. As a result, setting unrealistic goals damages your motivation, and that damages your mental health. So it is important to remember what your abilities are to set reasonable expectations.

Tips on Goal-Setting that Benefits Your Mental Health

Focus on Short-term Goals on Tough Days

On the days when I am most depressed, my two main goals are to get out of bed and shower. Usually, if I can get out of bed, showering is no problem. After that, I am refreshed for the rest of the day and feel more confident that I can set and attain other goals. However, there are days when getting out of bed and showering are my limits.

Going to Work or School Can be a Goal

For many of those who struggle with both depression and anxiety, going to work can be a goal that benefits your mental health because it helps with the social aspect of life. If you are prone to avoiding people out of fear of what they think of you, work is a place where you are required to interact with others.

While it can feel uncomfortable at times, this is a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to put yourself out there and be more social than you thought you could be. In the end, it could help you build confidence and achieve your goals.

Goals Can Help You Avoid Isolation

Personally, I have not really struggled with going to school or work. But on my days off, getting out of the house can feel difficult. On those days, I make it a goal to at least text a friend so that I am not completely antisocial.

To hear more about my goals that benefit my mental health and how I am striving to meet them, watch the video below.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2017, October 22). Setting Realistic Goals Benefits Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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January, 5 2021 at 9:25 pm

very cool!

Dr Musli Ferati
March, 1 2018 at 9:18 am

The ability to set goals through daily life indicate principal step to have got happy and satisfying personal occupational and social life. As to pertain to mentally ill persons this life skills exhibits tremendous benefit to recover from respective mental disorder. But your remark to set realistic goals should be the prerequisite to achieve the above mention positive approach. Everyone must be critic for oneself personal performances and others psychosocial and socio-cultural circumstances that determine the possibilities to rich out the intention goals. Otherwise, we would face with hard and rebound effects that worsen the course and definitive outcome of concrete mental illness. So, the mindful settings of small but realizable life goals contribute to desirable recovering from any mental illness.

Lizanne Corbit
October, 23 2017 at 10:18 am

I think this is an excellent read and reminder. Goals are personal to you, and no one else. Comparison can sneakily enter our goals, as you mentioned, when we look to others for inspiration of our own goals. When thinking of goals keep your focus on you. Set yourself up for success! Accomplishing "small" goals are excellent stepping stones for building confidence and motivation to reach those bigger goals.

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