THE recent resurgence of Covid-19 infections, and a new movement control order, has left many Malaysians feeling at the end of their tether.
The number of people seeking help related to pandemic-induced stress has seen a “more than two-fold increase” over the past year, according to a recent article in Asean Today that quoted Malaysian Mental Health Association president Dr Andrew Mohanraj.
With so much uncertainty over the future, how can we stay focused and safeguard our mental health?
One way is by setting goals for ourselves. No matter where you are on your mental health journey, working toward specific goals can help you live the life you want.
It is also a more focused form of self-care.
These goals, whether for work or studies, or even specific daily routines to bring improvement to your daily life, can be motivational tools that give you a reason to stay productive.
Goals for mental health
Setting positive resolutions for self-improvement – and reaching them – is vital to overall wellbeing, especially right now
For example, you could write down in a journal a short list of things you are grateful for, or decide to go to sleep an hour earlier than usual.
Once you become more confident, you can work on accomplishing larger, more long-term goals. Think of the short-term goals you set as stepping stones to your larger objective.
There are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin.
Set clear, specific goals
Evaluate your life and try to pick out the things that you would like to change. Having simple and realistic goals can help you focus and be more likely to achieve them. For example, if your basic goal is to be calmer, you could schedule meditation sessions three to five times a week.
Take small steps
Break down big goals into smaller ones, so they are more manageable and easier to reach. And do not be afraid to adjust your goals as you go along, to suit any changes in your life.
It is not always easy to attain a goal, and some people may need help. Think about those from your treatment team or support network who might be able to help you. If you share your goals with those closest to you, you may feel more committed to fulfil them.
Having hope and believing in yourself can inspire you to accomplish your goals. Learn from your mistakes, cut out what does not work for you, and try again the next day. Keep trying new things and readjust your plan as much as you need to get to the finish line.
Track your successes
Remember to track your progress and give yourself credit for the work you are doing. Quantifying your goal makes it much more clear when you have achieved it, and will help you measure your progress along the way to stay motivated.
Things to watch out for
Do not fall into the trap of pushing yourself too hard or too fast to meet your target. Make it realistic for you. Consider your reason for doing this, your lifestyle and your schedule in working towards your goal.
There are always adjustments to make. But being unrealistic about your ambitions is setting yourself up for failure even before you get started.
And if you falter, do not worry. That is part of the process, too. Remember, we learn infinitely more from our failures than we do from our successes, and that is really what matters, isn’t it?