Think Past Today: Set a Meaningful Goal

Depression most often impacts an individual’s capacity to lead a self-fulfilled life and effectively set and achieve goals. Goal setting and achievement are part and parcel to reducing depressive and anxious feelings. Goals give us a sense of purpose.

I’ll start with a working definition of GOAL SETTING: Identifying a specific, tangible goal, and making deliberate action around the achievement of the specific goal.

Notice the key words:
-deliberate action

So why is goal setting important?
Goals provide a sense of purpose and a roadmap for daily life. Accomplishing goals gives us a sense of accomplishment. This feeling of accomplishment encourages us to move forward, take a risk, and pursue additional goals. Accomplishment feeds our spirit.

Remember, you can make a goal around anything, including your family, your health, and your career. A goal is the first step in envisioning, generating, and making positive change for your future and emotional health. Sometimes, even just conceptualizing a clear goal is exciting. It gives hope during moments of anxiety, overwhelm, and depression. The vision alone is invigorating.

How do I make a goal?
1. Be honest with yourself. Is this goal something you really want? Is it something you want now? Is this a goal that you want to pursue now? Are you ready to make the effort and take risks?

2. Develop goals around things that excite you. It’s easier to do things that you like or towards something that you really, really want.

3. Be specific AND set a time frame. For example, compare “I want to make more money soon” to “I want to make $135,000 by December 1, 2010.” You want to give yourself a “deadline” to work towards.

4. Have a structured plan. This may seem anal, but write out some type of plan or map.

5. Tell people about the goal! It may be sorta hard to land the new job if NOBODY KNOWS YOU WANT THE JOB! TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR GOALS! Communicating your goals to others allows for others to give you feedback and help. Also, speaking the goal almost majestically brings it closer to reality; the universe begins to align!

Natasha K. Nalls is an expert in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. She works with individuals, couples, families, and groups.