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Maintaining good mental health can be difficult, especially during recent times when so many have been isolated at home. Yet, if you struggle with depression, anxiety, and other issues, you’re not alone.
If you are looking for a way to effectively set goals to improve your positive mental health, you may consider setting SMART goals. This article discusses 5 SMART goal examples for mental health to get you back on the right track.
SMART is a goal-setting methodology that allows you to create precise, measurable, and attainable goals. By setting specific SMART goals, improving your mental health is doable. Today we will discuss what some of these goals might look like.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART is an acronym that defines a specific goal-setting system. So, instead of setting a simple goal, your goal has to meet all five criteria as set out by the acronym.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. Therefore, for a goal to be SMART, it must adhere to all five aspects.
If you want to learn more, check out this Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals.
Why Are SMART Goals Important for Improving Positive Mental Health?
SMART goals can help if you want to improve your mental health. However, people face many challenges when looking to improve their mental health. Moreover, the reality is that there are hundreds of mental health issues that we could talk about.
SMART goals may help with mental health issues, including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, high-stress levels, etc. People with any of these conditions face various challenges. This is the case not only due to the mental health issues but also in receiving adequate treatment.
One challenge faced when aiming to improve positive mental health is being able to communicate with others. Unfortunately, many people are extremely isolated and do not have people to talk to, and this sort of solitary lifestyle can be a massive challenge.
Another challenge faced when aiming to improve positive mental health is recognizing that you have a problem, to begin with. Unfortunately, being able to acknowledge you have a problem and accept the fact you may require outside assistance is not something that many of us can do.
Moreover, one of the biggest challenges is receiving adequate treatment, and many do not have access to mental healthcare solutions. High-quality mental health services are in demand, but they cannot keep up. Maintaining a positive outlook and keeping busy, being able to distract yourself from such mental issues can also be a challenge.
However, SMART goals can help you overcome many or even all of these problems in one way or another. Setting specific, concise, and realistic goals, where you have a deadline and where the progress is measurable, will make it easier to overcome the obstacles you face. It’s all about overcoming more minor barriers that prevent you from reaching your larger goal.
5 SMART Goal Examples to Improve Your Positive Mental Health
1. Keep Track of My Calorie Intake
“To help overcome my eating disorder, I will aim to consume at least 2,000 calories per day between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and consume at least half of those calories by mid-day. In addition, I will keep track of my calorie intake in an eating journal. The overall goal is to gain/lose at least 20 pounds within 6 months.”
S: This goal is specific, to eat a set amount of calories per day within a certain amount of time, to gain/lose a set amount of weight.
M: This goal is measurable because you can easily count the calories you eat and weigh yourself daily.
A: This goal is attainable because consuming a set amount of calories per day requires a bit of dedication.
R: This goal is relevant in overcoming an eating disorder you may be suffering from.
T: This goal is timebound in two ways: It requires you to eat a certain amount of calories every 24 hours and to gain/lose 20 pounds within 6 months.
2. Meditate Regularly
“To overcome my anxiety, I will meditate at least 30 for 6 days a week by the end of each day. My end goal is to stop all anxiety or panic attacks from occurring within 3 months.”
S: This goal is specific—to meditate 30 minutes per day to stop anxiety attacks from occurring.
M: This goal is measurable by tracking the amount of time spent meditating and monitoring the frequency and severity of panic attacks.
A: This goal is attainable, as meditation is proven to reduce anxiety.
R: This goal is relevant to the overall end goal of improving positive mental health.
T: This goal is timebound—to stop all panic attacks from occurring within 3 months after starting meditation.
3. Seek Professional Counseling
“To help overcome my depression, I will seek professional counseling at least twice per week over the next year. In addition, I will monitor my depression by keeping track of how many negative thoughts I have per day, with the end goal being to reduce the number of negative thoughts and depression attacks by at least 90% over the next year.”
S: This goal is specific—to reduce depressive thoughts daily by 90% within the following year.
M: This goal is measurable by monitoring the number of counseling sessions per week and tracking how many depressive thoughts you have per day.
A: This goal is attainable, as reducing depression through counseling is a proven strategy.
R: This goal is relevant in improving overall positive mental health.
T: This goal is timebound—to reduce bad thoughts by 90% within the following year.
4. Exercise Regularly
“I will exercise for at least 60 minutes per day to reduce my stress levels. My goal is to reduce the amount of stress I feel daily by at least 75% within the next 6 months. I will monitor this through subjective means, such as judging how anxious I feel, how well I sleep, and my mood, among other factors.”
S: This goal is specific—to reduce stress levels through exercising for a certain amount of time per day.
M: This goal is measurable by tracking how much you exercise and subjectively measurable by judging how you feel based on your usual stress symptoms.
A: This goal is attainable because reducing stress through exercise is proven to work.
R: This goal is relevant, as reducing stress will improve overall mental health.
T: This goal is timebound—exercising every day and reducing stress levels by 75% within 6 months.
5. Communicate with a Friend or Family Member
“I will aim to communicate with one friend or family member for at least 45 minutes per day regarding my mental health issues and help improve my socialization and reduce time spent alone.”
S: This goal is specific—to increase time spent communicating with a close friend or family member by at least 45 minutes per day.
M: This goal is measurable by tracking how much time is spent and how often you communicate with others.
A: This goal is attainable, as everybody should have at least one person they can talk to, even if it is a mental health professional.
R: This goal is relevant because isolation and a lack of human contact are not beneficial for mental health.
T: This goal is timebound—communicating with somebody at least once every day.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goal Examples to Improve Positive Mental Health
As you can see, setting SMART goals is not that difficult, but they can be an effective tool to help you overcome various mental health issues. If you want to improve your positive mental health, setting SMART goals is something you should start doing.
And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 5 SMART Goal Examples to Practice Daily Self-Care
- 6 SMART Goals Examples to Improve Your Relationship
- 13 SMART Goals Examples for Depression and Anxiety
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.