Mental Health Hot Topic: Goal Guide 2021

Updated: Jan 27


It's that time of year. Time to either set ourselves up for success or failure. If you watched our latest Mental Health Interview with Olivia Gibson, we discussed the PHASES OF CHANGE.


Take out your journal and list your goals for this coming year. Evaluate which phase you are currently in with each goal. Remember you may be further along with certain goals than others.

Pre- Contemplation: In this phase, you may feel more defensive. Defending your bad habits because you do not have any plans to change the behavior.

  • Not ready to stop drinking.

  • Not ready to get help from the therapist.

  • Not ready to pay for a gym membership.

  • Not ready to make amends with a parent.

  • Not ready to become a parent.

  • Not ready to look for a new job.

  • Not ready to set aside time for meditation.

Contemplation: In this phase, you see yourself moving towards a healthy habit within the foreseeable future.

  • You see yourself working out 5 days a week.

  • You see yourself limiting alcohol intake to one glass per week.

  • You see yourself setting up future appointments with your therapist.

  • You see yourself scheduling a breath-work session once a week.

  • You see yourself switching jobs.

  • You see yourself taking time for self-care daily.

  • You see yourself journaling.

Preparation: In this phase, you are ready to take action within the month. You are convinced small steps towards new behaviors will benefit your life.

  • You sign up for a gym membership and also sign up for your first week of classes.

  • You purchase a book on improving your marriage, relationships, or self-care habits.

  • You think about possible jobs that match your needs and help fulfill your purpose.

  • You sign up for breath-work and set up your quiet space within your home.

  • You connect with your therapist and begin setting up future sessions.

  • You clean out the refrigerator and buy healthier alternatives the next time you're at the local market.

  • You purchase a water bottle that helps you measure your water intake.

Action: In this phase, you feel yourself getting into your grove. The new healthy habit starts to feel more natural and you feel good about the progress you have been making.

  • You're starting to really love your new HIIT class. You're there every week.

  • You're feeling new energy because your meditation sessions are bringing balance and peace of mind.

  • You're journaling every morning. You now love your quiet time to check in with yourself.

  • You enjoy having a therapist in your corner to help navigate through your thoughts and feelings. Your time with them is now invaluable.

  • You and your partner are starting to have healthier conversations and fewer arguments. Your new communication skills are working.

  • You love your lazy Sunday Epson salt bath time. You're seeing self-care Sunday has impacted your energy levels throughout your workweek.

Maintenance: In this phase, you are doing your best to continually pursue a healthy habit. This is typically a phase you enter into after roughly 6 months of practicing the new behavior. Ironically after feeling the positive benefits of taking action you can still feel the struggle of keeping it up.

  • Stressful days make it harder to get to your HIIT class on time.

  • Hormones make it harder to have healthy conversations.

  • The kids keep waking up early interrupting your quiet time.

  • Friends pressure you to go out for drinks our unhealthy dining.

  • Finances make it hard to meet with your therapist.

  • You receive an injury and can no longer take your daily walks.

  • You're experiencing anxiety and find it hard to meditate.

  • You are seeing the fitness results you're looking for.

Relapse: In this phase, you experience a setback. Here you might take a major step backward. We are used to using relapse as an excuse to quit, but instead, it should be used as a time to re-evaluate. Relapse helps you redefine your intentions if you are willing to observe rather than criticize.

  • Observing that your workload will cause you to need to fit your workouts in before work. Or perhaps working out from your living room works better for you than trying to get to a gym on time. Perhaps you need a personal trainer because you struggle with motivation.

  • Water is not satisfying for you. You want to rebel and go for the soda. Explore healthy carbonated waters that can satisfy your cravings. Add lemon or lime to your water.

  • Recognizing you shouldn't have difficult conversations at night with your partner. Setting aside a specific time to bring up issues.

  • Changing mediation to nap time so the kids don't affect your quiet time.

  • Hire help around the house so you can have time for your workouts.

  • Restructure your finances to accommodate your needs.

  • Find new outings you are your friends can enjoy so you're not forced to meet at the barre.



Once you discover where you are. Take the time to evaluate what you can do to continue progressing... what you can do to access what needs to be done when you hit the relapse phase...Who can you surround yourself with to stay motivated and accountable? Can you be more SPECIFIC with your goals.

  • I want to lose 10 lbs.

  • I want to workout 5 days per week.

  • I want to meditate 15 minutes a day.

  • I want to journal every morning.

  • I want to surround myself with 3 healthy supportive friends.

  • I want to meet with my therapist once a week until I feel I can set boundaries with my family and friends without feeling guilty for expressing my needs.

  • I want to start dating again. I am going to sign up for a dating app and reach out to one guy at a time and build healthy communication.

  • I want to increase my income. I am going to give my all at my current job while keeping my eyes open for new employment opportunities every week.

  • I am going to read a book to educate myself on a specific topic.

Break up your goals. Goal: Healthy Relationships with Friends Yearly: I want to have three women that support me unconditionally. Monthly: Start a monthly moms club, Start a Monthly meal share with women in your neighborhood, start a book club, a wine club, take your pals on a monthly hike. Weekly: Set aside time to meet up for coffee, take a 30-minute window to chat on the phone, take a workout class together. Goal: Lose 10 lbs Yearly: It's safe to lose 2 lbs per month. It is only going to take me 5--8 weeks to accomplish my goal. I want to maintain my new weight long term. Monthly: I am going to exercise 5 days a week. I am going to track my calories and eat healthier meals. Weekly: I will go to the grocery a pick out the right menu for me. I am going to sign up for 5 classes at the gym.

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