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Setting Personal Goals

Personal Goals

People who have a mental health condition, even if they experience symptoms, can still set goals and begin to work toward achieving them. If symptoms are under control, it can be easier to focus on those goals and on how to reach them. It’s a good idea to talk with a member of the recovery team if existing symptoms make it difficult to set goals. They may be able to help the individual get back on track.

Be specific about personal recovery goals

Think about the things it would be nice to accomplish in life. There may be some short-term goals, which could be achieved in the next several months, and long-term goals, which could be achieved gradually over a long period of time.

Making a goal is more than identifying something you want. It involves having a plan and an idea of steps that need to be taken to achieve the goal. If the process seems difficult or confusing, that’s where the recovery team comes in. Each person’s individual goals may vary. Talk with members of the recovery team about setting realistic goals.

Example of a short-term goal: finding a class that can help reduce stress

A short-term goal could be something like figuring out an activity to help with stress relief, such as yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, or meditation. First, it might be necessary go to the library to read a little bit about each activity. An online search could determine who teaches classes in the local area. Then it would be necessary to find out how much the classes cost, which would require calling the different locations. Finally, there are decisions about how many classes per week to take and how to get to them.

Example of a long-term goal: finding a job

Take small steps and ask for help along the way

Don’t let the planning process become overwhelming! Remember, the recovery team is there to help. Friends and family members or the therapist can help to figure out what kinds of telephone calls to make, how to find out whether classes are needed, etc., if the person with the mental health condition is open to accepting that kind of help.

Take things slowly and gradually. And remember, working toward the goal has its own value. The person with a mental health condition will learn things along the way and build on that knowledge as the recovery process continues.