Goal Setting, Being In Control of Your Life and Healthy Minds with BetterHelp

September: the month where it’s perfect to sit back and assess where we are going with the final few months of the year. It’s a perfect time to set new goals and aim for new beginnings, if you’re not quite content with how the first part of the year has gone.

Perhaps it’s that strong ‘back to school’ mentality which we’re all used to that makes us ready for new goals and aims come September. Since being a child, we’ve always associated Autumn as a new start, especially with marking it with the start of a new school year.

So even as adults, it’s a great time to embrace new change.

Some say September has quickly become the ‘new January’, a fresh clean slate for new starts. If you’re looking at ways to gain new opportunities, set and reach new goals or reset your mind, then now is a brilliant time to start dedicating some time to these last four months of the year, and beyond…

Assess your current state of mind

Before you go forward, it’s important to check in with yourself first to see if what your state of mind and current happiness state is. No amount of goal setting is going to help to kick-start your motivation and zest for life if you’ve been in a low place mentally for a while.

Sometimes we need extra help when we’re in a dark place. Sometimes we need to make bigger life changes, or to speak to a therapist or consellor who can identify any dark thoughts. A great place to start is to take a read of this article about lifestyle changes and the current quality of your life, and see if this piece relates to you and your current mindset.

Don’t feel ashamed or concerned if you do find yourself in a lower than usual place once you have really checked in on yourself. Remember, we’ve been through a global pandemic that is currently showing no signs of slowing down. For some people, jobs are uncertain, social anxiety may have kicked in, and the fear of the unknown can play havoc with our minds. It’s always handy to have access to online therapists and counselling if you need it, in which the BetterHelp app could be a good place to start.

Goal setting and how to start

If you’ve never really been a goal setter before, you might feel even more confused starting it in September. But trust me, now is a great time! Autumn is coming and Christmas is on the horizon. 2021 isn’t too far away, and after the drama of 2020, now is a great time to re-assess the year and make future plans.

Firstly, think about your productivity for the first half of the year gone by. Did it start off strong, and then dwindle off? Now is the time to reset yourself and work on greater productivity, and you can easily start this by simply writing a list of how Jan-March went, then April-June, then July to now.

Then, in either a notebook, a large A3 sheet, a white board or an excel spreadsheet (let’s face it, it depends on what type of person you are what which medium you’ll whip out!) start a list for September – December, and brainstorm the areas you want to focus your productivity on.

It differs for everyone, but some ideas could be:

‘Wake up an earlier everyday and tick of one of my tasks’
‘Save an extra £100 each month’
‘Eat healthier’
‘Loose the extra pounds I’ve needed to loose’.
‘Check in with friends more, even if only over the phone’.

Of course, your list will be personal and tailored towards you are your goals. You can break it down by month if you like, and write 5 things you want to achieve each month. They can all be related, perhaps starting off with the building blocks in September, and by December, the goal should have been achieved.

Focus on what matters to you

Before you start goal setting, really home into you and what matters to you. Everyone creates happiness from different things, and success looks different to everyone.

Ask yourself: What felt fulfilling this year? What really made me feel demotivated this year? Draw a list of what really spurred you on and what you’d like to grow more, and what areas you really don’t want bogging you down again.

See this task as a form of reflection activity. Use your reflections to form a list of what you’d like to accomplish by the end of the year.

Remember, try to be as specific and focused as possible. Don’t just put: ‘September – I need to start loosing weight’. Instead, say ‘From Week 2 of September, I need to have a diet and exercise plan in place,’ and, ‘By December, I’ll have lost 8 pounds’, for example.

The more relevant, the more achievable.

Start off small and slowly grow bigger and better

The best way to get behind your new goals is to start of small. Don’t go into September with a large bang, putting the pressure on and feeling the stress. Doing this could cause unnecessary panic and remember why we’re doing this – for a health mind, not a more stressed out one.

It might be that your mind is fragile, and when you start to analyse your list of goals and life changes, you release there is deeper work to be done. Don;t feel disheartened or upset if this is the case. There’s a great article you can read about here which highlights why online counselling and therapy is always a great place to start when your mind is a little like a jungle!

Remember that no matter what goals you have in mind — whether it’s to get your side business launched, saving money or losing weight or saving money — you will benefit from starting small, and focusing on just one thing.

The two main reasons people don’t stick to their goals are, number one, they have too many goals to begin with,  making them unfocused. Number two, their goals just seem so big that they aren’t sure where to start when it comes to tackling them, so they’ll put them off.

Prioritise one singular goal and then highlight small steps for how to reach it. Ask yourself, ‘What’s the next best step I can take today to get there?’. Always have that question in more mind throughout the month, and you’ll find it’s such a simple yet effective way to help train your mind top focus on your overall goal. You’ll stop dreaming and procrastinating, and start doing more.

With anything you achieve or start to work towards, remind yourself of the joy that comes with it. Be positive and talk kindly to yourself. Find joy in the journey.

And what happens if you don’t have any dreams and goals?

Without sounding patronising, everyone has a goal or dream somewhere deep down within them. There’s always a life we would love to have, or just small changes that make our vision of life seem happier. It can just take a while to unlock this, and perhaps that what you need to work on for your goal setting is to fully understand what life changes would make you happy.

Don’t stress too much about it if you do struggle with finding goals – they can sometimes be the smallest of dreams, so just work on tackling the small things you wish to attack first!

What are your September goals? Have you got a plan in place to start meeting them? Do let us know in the comments.

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