Around this time of the semester, schoolwork piles up and the other parts of my life seem to be pushed to the side. The way school becomes so prioritized to the point that, during these busy times, the only time I see friends is to study together (or procrastinate and complain about schoolwork oops).
Especially with the quarantine, the balance of school and life is even more difficult to maintain. Recently I have been working through different methods of setting goals for my mental health, and this particular guide connects to the practice of cognitive behavioural therapy.*
When thinking of a goal, it should:
- Be small enough that it’s achievable!
- Go with something reasonable – release any pressure on yourself
- Outline how many times per week you will work at this
- This way you have a set time in mind to put this into action
- Describe if it will include anyone
- Sometimes having a friend along for the goal can be really helpful (i.e. exercising together)
- Have an overall purpose
- Think about what this version of you (the one having succeeded in your goal) will be like
- The goal could start with, “If I felt 50% better, I would be able to…”
For example, this semester I’ve been wanting to work more on my physical and mental health.
One goal of mine is to make sure I will walk for at least 20 minutes with my dad every Tuesday (right after my last class). While I try and walk more than just Tuesdays, detailing the time and day establishes a routine.
Another goal of mine is to go to bed earlier (which hopefully means I wake up earlier). To set this goal, I have decided that after 11:30 I will start getting ready for bed every night. Setting this specific time for myself has actually helped me study better too – I feel as though I can work hard knowing there is a certain time I have allowed myself to “check out.”
These goals will look different for everyone! And that’s the sweet thing about it.
Goals can be about:
- Relationships (familial, platonic, romantic)
- Academic or career (do you want to search more of what you want to do? Or do you know what you want, now you want to work for it?)
- Self-care (what support do you need to do better? Boundary setting? Professional help? What part of your life do you want to tend to?)
Goals can be for one night – figuring out what you want done before the next day.
OR they can be for the rest of the 2021 (like a low-stakes resolution)!
It’s so weird to think that we’re adults who have our lives ahead of us?? And goal setting is just one way to figure out how to achieve a life you see yourself living. So, I try my best to follow-through with my goals, but they are temporary and always evolving.
I hope this helped make goals a little less intimidating to set and work towards!
*For further info on and support for CBT, connect with a professional counsellor/therapist.