Entering a mental health program or facility is a monumental step in taking charge of your well-being. It can be a scary and intimidating process and challenging to adjust to the changes in your life and lifestyle. Sherief Abu-Moustafa encourages individuals receiving care within a mental health program to set goals while going through the process. Here are some of his suggestions for setting and ultimately reaching those goals:
Understand Your Goals And Why They Are Important
Once you have taken steps to enter a program, it is essential to evaluate what you hope to achieve in the process. Are you looking to lower stress levels? Develop better coping skills? Make lifestyle changes? Knowing your goals will help you stay focused.
Recognizing the importance of these goals will also help motivate you to stay on track. Take the time to reflect on why these changes are essential and how they will ultimately improve your life. Picture what it will look like when you reach your goals and visualize yourself succeeding.
One popular tactic when setting goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T. approach. This technique stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals. Breaking down a goal into smaller chunks will help you stay on task and measure your successes along the way.
Break Goals Into Realistic, Achievable Milestones
Once you have established your goals, the list may look overwhelming. Remember that goal do not have to be completed all at once. You can chart progress and celebrate successes by breaking your goals into smaller, achievable milestones.
For example, if your goal is to reduce stress, perhaps your smaller goals would include the following:
- Making time for leisure activities.
- Meditating daily.
- Learning ways to manage conflict.
Creating a timeline for these milestones and holding yourself accountable to that timeline can help you stay on track. However, it’s important to remember that timelines are a guide, not a rule. Be sure to allow yourself grace when facing setbacks or obstacles.
Utilize Available Resources
Investing in your mental health program is the best way to reach your goals. Talk to your care team about what resources are available to you and use them. Are there group sessions that focus on your particular purpose? A therapist or counselor specializing in the area you are trying to improve? Resources exist to help you succeed, and using them is essential.
Your care team should also have ideas about your aftercare plan. The plan will help you determine the mental health resources available once the program is complete. They should have suggestions for additional therapy, lifestyle changes, support groups, and other methods of staying on track. Don’t hesitate to talk to your team if you have concerns or questions about a particular area.
Focus On Yourself Instead Of Comparing To Others
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to achieving goals is comparing yourself to others. After all, the cliche “comparison is the thief of joy” is often true. It’s natural to compare yourself to others in the program and wonder why you are not progressing as quickly. Avoid falling into this trap by focusing on your progress instead.
The truth is that everyone has a different rate of progress, and comparison can be demoralizing and distracting. Focus on your personal journey instead of comparing it to those around you. Understand that each person’s journey is different, and yours may take more or less time than another’s. It can help prevent feelings of discouragement, which might otherwise keep you from making progress.
Celebrate Your Achievements
Recognizing each milestone you reach and celebrating your success is crucial. Your mental health program is about achieving success. When you reach a goal or milestone, celebrate it. No matter how small it may seem, it is essential to acknowledge that you have made progress.
Feel proud of your accomplishments and use that emotion to propel you forward. Whether big or small, take time to appreciate your achievements and use that emotion to continue reaching your goals. Celebration is a powerful motivator and can boost your mood and overall outlook.
Build A Support System
Lastly, having a solid support system is vital in helping you reach your goals. Friends and family who support your program can encourage and help keep you focused on the prize. Being surrounded by people who believe in your mission can make all the difference in achieving success.
When facing obstacles or difficulties, it’s helpful to have understanding and compassion. Reach out to your support system when you are in need of guidance or motivation. Having a few cheerleaders on the sidelines can make an incredible difference in your journey.
By breaking down goals into achievable milestones and utilizing available resources, visualizing success, focusing on yourself, and recognizing achieved goals, Sherief Abu-Moustafa knows you can set yourself up for success in your mental health program. With dedication and hard work, you can reach your goals and create lasting positive change in your life.