“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” - Anonymous
For someone who is suffering with depression, goal setting can be very difficult. The very act of sitting down and writing out goals can often be accompanied by feelings of negativity about themselves. To find a focus in a sea of blackness for many is an everyday struggle.
Recent medical research has shown that if people who are suffering with depression (dependant on the type and severity of the depression) can set goals, they will achieve purpose and direction in their lives, which may alleviate the negative and destructive feelings associated with depression.
Some points to consider when setting goals are:
Write them down, and then list them in order of importance and use this as a template.
Surround yourself with happy and optimistic people, who will lift you up and support you.
Feelings of worthlessness often accompany depression, and so to combat these feelings create a worthwhile cause in your life, such as spending time with an elderly neighbour who lives alone. Whilst having a positive effect on your neighbour, the act of giving will also boost your own sense of self-esteem and self-worth. The greatest gift that you can give to someone is your time; remember that when you lift someone up, you will be lifted up as well.
Make sure that your goals come from a real feeling of wanting, and not just because you think that you should. If you are honest with yourself, your goals will be both inspirational and worthwhile.
Set your goals based on your values. The values that you hold dear in life are those things that you hold on to in times of despair. Setting goals like this will validate these values.
Make your goals realistic and attainable. Do not focus on things you do not want or need – this is a waste of your energy and will only attract what you do not want or need in your life.
Set your goals with a time limit. This will give you a indication of when you can achieve your goal/goals, although be prepared for the goal posts to move a few times. You will get there in the end, and when you do, celebrate these moments. Consider them “ little miracles” - beacons of hope along life's path.
In achieving your goals, you will begin to understand why these achievements make you happy, increasing the likelihood that goal setting will bring you happiness. For me, this is the greatest goal of all.