With all the hustle and bustle we have in everyday life, setting a goal can be a goal within itself! It can also be overwhelming, anxiety provoking or add to depression or other mental health issues that are already present in our lives. Yet, setting goals for ourselves is one way to combat these looming issues. So, how do we get to the finish line if we feel we can’t even start the race? Well, that’s a good question. There is no magic formula, but there are some great tips on how to start and I will be sharing some of my own and some that I have researched with you today.
            Goal setting has many wonderful mental health benefits. It keeps you focused, gives you a sense of control and power over your life, gives you something to look forward to, keeps you accountable, can get you connected with others that are like-minded in your endeavors and a myriad of other benefits. One of the best ways to get started with goal setting is talking with your therapist to see the best path you should take. The first step I find that one has to take is that they must first decide what it is that they want to do. Then how they will go about this task. How long this task will take and then how they will celebrate the accomplishment of this task. Sounds easy enough right? Well, yes and no. The journey in between is where we need extra help and guidance. This is where a support network comes in and a solid foundation and blueprint will come in handy.
                In my search, I found that using tools such as acronyms and apps have helped me remain focused. I found the website they talked about using G.R.O.W: Goal, Reality, Options and Way forward when goal setting. Using this method, you decide upon your Goal by asking yourself different questions such as is this realistic for your life, how will this positively impact your life, or what are the negative impacts and can you handle them? Next is Reality, in which you consider your current situation. Have you made any progress thus far? With your current reality taken into consideration, what is a more realistic goal? Next is Options, what can you do to move forward? What are the pros and cons of these options? Lastly, there is the Way forward to growth. This is where you make the commitment to action. Take small steps at first and then go back and increase until you have made it all the way to your goal. This is where you can find a therapist if you do not have one already, reach out to a friend or family member for support as an accountability buddy or even find a support group. Since we live in the day and age of technology download a goal setting app such as GoalsOnTrack, Strides, Way Of Life, or ATracker. These can help keep you accountable throughout the day and give you reminders when no one else is around.
       However you choose to go about your goal setting make sure that you keep in mind something that is realistic for you, get some support and utilize all the tools necessary to help you succeed. There are many ways you can do this, so if you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help, maybe in the form of finding a therapist to help get you started. A goal doesn’t have to be some far away dream you’ll never achieve, with a little effort and support it can be a reality waiting to happen!
By: Garcsa Brooks
Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.

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