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Don’t set any goals until you see a mental health professional!

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Mental health professional

A Mental Health Professional can support you to achieve your goals

Mental health professionals are often seen in the context of severe mental disorders. However, this is not the online time they see people, and in fact couldn’t be further from the truth! A mental health professional can assist you with any aspect of your life that requires work and enhancement, including helping you to achieve your personal or professional goals. And having that kind of support on your side can give you the advice and the accountability you need to get past the barriers that stopped you before.

The Importance of Goal Setting

If you want to get somewhere, you need to know where you’re going. This is basic human psychology and it applies to every aspect of your life. If you want to change something, do something new, or just eliminate something from your life, you need to know exactly what you what and what you don’t. Otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time and effort and nothing will change. Setting goals will help motivate you on the days when you’re feeling inspired, help you decide on the changes you need to make to achieve your goals and it will help you feel in control of your life and its direction. It’s important to set the right goals, if you set just any, you will achieve them yes, but you won’t feel any different. 

Why we Struggle to Reach our Goals

Lots of people have tried to set goals before, of course. Most people find that sometimes that has worked, and sometimes it hasn’t. The psychology of the human brain can be complicated and tricky, and bad habits can be really difficult to break or replace. Some of the reasons you might have struggled to reach your goals before include:

  • The goal was too big (and perhaps too scary!)
  • You didn’t have the right strategies to replace bad habits with good ones
  • You tried to do too much at once
  • Life got in the way, excuses were made, and the goal dropped off your radar

Our brain will always find a reason not to do something if it looks for it! Life is complicated, sometimes hard and stressful, but remembering why we set that goal in the first place is the motivation we need to remind ourselves about when things crop up. If you really want to achieve something, you can and will, but only if you are motivated to work at it and put in the time and effort. This can be a lot easier and effective if you talk with a mental health provider, such as a mental health social worker or psychologist.  

How to Decide What Goals to Set

There’s no point in setting goals that are vague or uninteresting to you. No matter how good your intentions, you need to be excited about making the changes, or you won’t do it. You also need to be very specific, so you can tell when you’ve succeeded, and can also see what steps you need to take towards your goals. Make sure you take some time and serious thought before you set your goals because it can sometimes be hard to really understand what you want and need in your life. Talk to a friend or mental health professional if you’re having trouble with this step. You don’t want to choose the wrong goals and find out weeks or even months down the track.

Defining your Goals

Make sure your goals are well defined if you really want to achieve them. The SMART goal method is an easy and straightforward way to do this. These goals are:

  • Specific, they describe a very precise outcome.
  • Measurable, you need to be able to tell when you’ve achieve the goals.
  • Attainable, they should be possible.
  • Realistic, there’s no point in setting a goal to lose a hundred pounds in a month.
  • Time related, there has to be an end date to keep you accountable.

The Key to Goal Setting

Even if you have the right procedure and the right goals, you could still struggle, because you’re a human being! It’s a simple fact of life, and of human psychology, that we get in our own way constantly. No matter how much we want something, the idea of change can be frightening, and so we invent all sorts of reasons why we can’t achieve our goals. That’s why we need to be held accountable. It’s not enough to hold ourselves accountable either, it’s too easy to make excuses. We need an external source, one that won’t accept excuses or reasons, to monitor our efforts and give an honest assessment of our efforts and our failures. Have you ever had to admit to someone that you didn’t do something you promised to do? It didn’t feel good, right? Well, that same feeling is why having someone hold you accountable can be so helpful.

A mental health professional can make the ideal accountability partner. They’re objective, experienced enough to spot lies and excuses, and have a good understanding of all the tactics you might use to stall your own efforts. They can also give you some tips on how to overcome your own resistance. If you really need a good push to make the changes you need, they’re the perfect choice to help you.

Final Thoughts

Having a mental health professional on your side when it comes to setting and achieving your goals can be key to getting a good outcome. They can give you accountability, suggest new strategies when you have trouble, and generally provide an objective, measured opinion on your life and your efforts. If you’re having trouble making the changes you want or you need to try something different, seeking professional help can open your eyes to options you would have never considered on your own. Why wait any longer? What small step can you take right now that will propel you forwards?

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