I love setting goals for the year but it can be tough during winter when I’m exhausted from the holidays and my seasonal depression is kicking. Setting goals always helps me stay motivated and focused though so I always spend time writing out goals for the year. Here are my tips for setting goals when you’re feeling depressed.
Get a Buddy
Find a friend to be your accountability buddy. Having someone you check in with about your progress can help you stay focused on working towards your goal. If you don’t have a friend that would be a good accountability buddy get a coach, therapist or personal trainer. If you keep your goals to yourself and you don’t tell anyone about them it can be easy to let yourself slip. Having someone you update on your progress can help you stay motivated even when you really don’t freaking feel like it.
Write It Down
Writing down your goals makes you much more likely to achieve them. Start a journal practice where you regularly write updates about your goals. The more often you check in with yourself about your progress the more likely you are to achieve your goal. If you set a bunch of goals for the New Year and then never think about them again until December you aren’t very likely to achieve much of anything. You have to make a commitment to yourself and keep evaluating your progress and what the next steps are. Hang your goals somewhere that you will see them often to give you a reminder.
Make a Plan
I am a fan of writing big scary fucking goals. A lot of people will tell you to set small little tiny achievable goals but I’m here to tell you this is your one damn life and you should be dreaming really freaking big. Big dreams can be good for depression because they can help guide you out of the fog in your mind. Once you have your big scary goals (they should terrify you a little) go ahead and start breaking them down into smaller action steps. You want to give yourself achievable steps you can take and focus on one thing at a time. Yes, your dreams should scare you but don’t want to let it shut you down and get you overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and make a plan for yourself and start focusing on the very first step. Take it one task at a time.
Have a Purpose
Don’t right goals just for the hell of it. Your goals should make you feel freaking EXCITED and on FIRE. If they don’t then go back to the drawing board. Maybe you wrote that you want to get in shape because your someone in your family made a comment about your body that hurt your feelings. Your goals should be for YOU and they should be for a greater purpose. One of my goals this year is to exercise regularly but I want to get in shape to give me more energy so I can help more women on their mental health journey. Figure out what your life’s mission is and then write goals that will help you live your purpose.
Be Kind to Yourself
Goals are hard to achieve. Every year just about every person that you know is setting resolutions and goals but very few of them follow through. If you’ve made a commitment to change something in your life you are attempting to do something difficult so take it easy on yourself. Beating yourself up isn’t going to get you anywhere any faster. Be as kind to yourself as you would a child. If a child didn’t make any progress working towards their goal you wouldn’t talk down to them or criticize them. I am very hard on myself and I have to monitor my self-talk constantly. The world is hard enough, don’t tear yourself down. All of those negative thoughts you are thinking to yourself are seeping into your subconscious mind and can be really damaging to your self-esteem. If you mess up just forgive yourself and move on. Start where you are and get back to doing the work.
Pick some milestones that you want to celebrate. Maybe after so many gym sessions, you will treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes or after reaching a certain milestone in your business you will take yourself out for dinner. Give yourself something to work towards and celebrate your success. Share your journey and success on social media so your friends can cheer you on. Spend some time thinking about what milestones will mean the most to you and how you want to celebrate them. Your celebrations should make you excited AF and help keep you motivated to keep working towards your goals.
Managing depression is a freaking tough journey. Hats off to you for being here and having the courage to set goals while managing your mental health. If you need professional help tell any shame or stigma you have to sit down and talk to a professional. I avoided seeking professional help for years because I felt like I should be strong enough to manage my mental health on my own. I wasted years of my life trying to get through the daily grind instead of traveling, falling in love and living my damn life. If you’re suffering or even just struggling don’t wait to see if it will get better, take action now.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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