Useful Approaches to Setting Goals In or Out of Residential Treatment

Setting Goals is often what we do to to begin a new year. The desire to start fresh is what motivates us to set new goals and be our best self. Often times it is difficult for someone with depression to get motivated to set goals.  Feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, and anxiety set in.  I came across an article “Setting Realistic Goals to Overcome Depression” authored by Ian Murnaghan, which outlined helpful small steps to setting realistic goals to a healthier and happier you.  After reading it I thought,depression or not, residential treatment or not, it can be hard enough to set and keep goals. I think this is great advice we could all use!

Using a Diary

Some people find that writing in a diary can help to release tension each day, and this can give you a sense of where you are in your attainment of various goals related to depression treatment. Or you may prefer keeping a list of the different goals and making notes on progress or setbacks each day. This can help you to identify those areas which require more work as well as provide you with a sense of accomplishment for those areas where you are experiencing progress.

Ask For Input

When setting realistic goals, it can help to obtain input from family or friends who may better be able to view the situation clearly.  Often time, if a depressed person is taking on too much, family and friends can help to bring them back down to reality and encourage them to slow down and take it easy.

One or More Setbacks Does Not Equal a Disaster

Be kind and gentle to yourself by accepting and forgiving any setbacks. You may not reach every goal you make and in fact, it’s human and natural to experience setbacks but criticizing yourself is only counterproductive to depression management.  If you don’t meet a goal, think about ways to improve your chances of realistically meeting it and be sure to also focus on the positive aspects of those goals you do meet.

Reward Your Efforts

The best reward for reaching a goal is the confidence and satisfaction that you have been successful but that doesn’t mean you can’t use other incentives. Treat yourself to a dinner out, or perhaps a new item you are wishing to buy. It’s a nice way of acknowledging and appreciating your own efforts and capabilities in attaining your goals.

Getting Support

Support is a major element in your ability to reach your goals for depression management. Ultimately, you are the one who is battling your depression, but consider other sources, therapists, friends, and family as important support for treating your illness. Trying to overcome depression alone can leave you feeling more isolated and challenged when trying to reach your goals. A support network can keep you on track and make depression management more effective.  Regardless of where you are in your depression recovery, goals are an important part of your well-being.  Setting realistic goals to overcome depression can help you to maintain the hope that you will beat your depression, one step and one day at a time.

– blog written by Nicole Andra, Admissions Director