Guest post: Setting Realistic Mental Health Goals -By Ethan

Most of us know how to set a goal. Even if we don’t all physically write them down, most people have a basic understanding of determining what they want and how they’re going to get it.

For things like school, it’s simple: I want a grade of 90 or higher on a test, I want my class rank to move down 5, I want to study for an hour a night. When goals are simple, they’re easier to track, and so it’s easier to achieve them.

For hobbies, it’s much the same: I want to learn this new piano piece by next month, I want to crochet 3 scarves in the next month, etc.

But when it comes to setting goals about ourselves, we suck. If all you know is that you want to become a little bit happier, how can you possibly know how long something like that should take?

Well, recognizing that improving your mental state, especially if you suffer regularly from anxiety or other mood issues is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.

But that’s okay if you learn how to set realistic goals about it.

The Problem with Setting Personal Goals

We tend to think very extremely of ourselves. If we mess something up, we tend toward dejection and self-loathing…Since the harshest critic we have to deal with will always be ourselves, it makes sense that we’d function this way. But this makes it difficult to set adequate goals.

By thinking either extremely of ourselves, we tend to set proportionally extreme goals for ourselves. (At least I certainly did.) And that creates an unhealthy pattern that sets us up to fail.

For a long time, I would try to wrangle with Anxiety over the course of a week or a month. I would promise to do everything right for an entire week, and then somehow, I’d be rid of Anxiety and on the fast-track to a happy successful life. But that’s extreme. And not realistic.

If we can recognize this, we can consciously try to filter out the unrealistic things we expect of ourselves.

How to Set Personal Development Goals

And now for my personal favorite part of many of my posts: Get out a piece of paper!
Now, write down two mental health goals of yours. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just simple stuff. As vague or as specific as you want it to be. For example:

1. Become generally happier

2. Improve levels of Anxiety with coping strategies

Whatever. Those are goofy examples. But it doesn’t matter. Next to or under those goals, try giving yourself a realistic a mount of time to achieve those things.

And remember! mental health goals are tremendously time-consuming, but not necessarily difficult or impossible to achieve.

So instead of giving yourself a week, two weeks, or a month to achieve your goals, extend it out. For example:

1. Become generally happier: 1 year

2. Improve levels of Anxiety with coping strategies: 6 months

These are arbitrary examples, but it’s so crucial that, if you want to actually achieve a goal, you give yourself enough or more than enough time to achieve it.

If you give yourself a meager amount of time, it’s only natural that you’re less likely to achieve that goal.

And it’s not your fault! It’s simply the tendency of our brains to think extremely about all things and especially ourselves.

Words of Encouragement

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably been struggling. That’s okay, and it’s not your fault. Instead of expecting too much of yourself and then becoming overwhelmed and frustrated, give yourself the opportunity to take your time.

You’d never expect a novice to be able to assemble a computer in 15 minutes.

You’d never expect someone to spend a week diligently practicing tennis and then being able to beat Serena Williams.

You’d never expect humans to make it to Mars after one year of realizing they want to do it.

So why would you expect so much of yourself, when it comes to handling some of the most intense, personal, complex, and important battles of your introspective mind?

Give yourself the opportunity, give yourself a chance, and I’m sure you’ll take it.

And, I mean, so what you’ll struggle a bit longer than you might with unrealistic goals?

You’ve struggled before—it’s made you brave—and you’ll struggle again. But at least, if you crawl toward your personal goals at a snail’s pace, you’ll eventually get there instead of being frustrated at your inability to do so.

Thank You

I want to thank Vincent from the bottom of my heart for letting me write this post on his blog. If you enjoyed this, I have a lot of similar content on my own blog, Above Cognition. I’d be so grateful if you checked it out! I’m also working on setting up a YouTube channel where I’ll post simple guided meditations and hopefully interviews with experts in the fields of Psychology and Neuroscience. If that sounds good to you, please check that out as well. Link to YouTube. If a few people interact with my channel, I’ll be sure to get content coming quickly!

Check out the meditation I uploaded and subscribe for more of it! Once again, I appreciate everyone who cares enough about the world to want to help themselves, and I appreciate the opportunity Vincent has given me!

From Vincent💐

This is my first ever guest blog post. And I’m very happy that Ethan approached me for a guest post.

Please check out Ethan’s wonderful blog. He is a really great person with loads of wisdom readily available to be consumed by you.

Check out Ethan’s blog.

Published by Mrhighfoster

I'm Mrhighfoster, a stress management coach and professional therapist. I teach people fun tricks and psychological hacks on how to relieve physical and emotional stress levels, for an healthier well-being.

36 thoughts on “Guest post: Setting Realistic Mental Health Goals -By Ethan

    1. Hmmm. 🤔 you are right.

      Most people avoid settings goals because of their “impatient attitude” and “distraction”

      I’m glad you really learnt something and related to this post.

      Please check out Ethan’s blog. He’s got loads of posts that you will definitely relate to.


    1. Thanks so much Cookie girl. I’m really glad you took time to read this awesome post and drop your great thoughts about it.

      Ethan is really a great person. And I’m glad you love his writings. Please be sure to check out his blog. 🙏🏾

      😊😊anyways, how are you doing today?!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Humans are very fond of thinking and imagining absolute realities, we either think of the best or worst case scenarios, even in goal setting, and it makes us miss those little goals, those more easily achievable. I absolutely agree, in the end we expect too much from ourselves and it isn’t always helpful. When I set my goal, I break it down into smaller goals I can easily achieve and I make sure to reward myself when I accomplish, even those small milestones. 🙂 ❤ Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I pulled out a lot of valuable points from your article.

      When we expect too much from ourselves, we end up setting unrealistic goals. It happened to me.

      But Ethan’s post opened my eyes to a lot of things I kept ignoring.

      Breaking down of goals is one step closer to setting quality and achievable goals.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with
Get started