Health

Want Better Mental Health And Success At Work? Get A Goal

Pursue a goal for better mental health

You’ve always known pursuing your goals is a smart thing to do. After all, you’re more likely to reach your goals if you pursue them with gusto. But did you know the very act of pursuing your goals is also good for your health in a few ways? Goals are good. Also, the actions you take to pursue them are good. And this, in turn, points to lessons on how you can be most effective at work.

New research conducted longitudinally—with over 3,000 returning participants over 18 years—found when people were optimistic and persistent in pursuing their goals they tended to have less depression and anxiety. In another study, when people had a greater sense of life purpose, they were more likely to accept and adopt healthy behaviors.

Those are some impressive outcomes based on clear goals and purpose.

You’ve probably read about the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (those that are Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, Timebound). But this recent research points to new ways to think about how purpose and goals can make you more effective at work. Here’s how it matters and how to put it into practice:

Focus On Your Why

You’ve heard before that “why” is important. But why is that? It’s because having clarity about the reasoning behind your goals helps you connect to the bigger picture. That tends to be more motivating than a day-to-day transactional outcome you might be pursuing. You want to do a great job on the presentation, sure, but the overall purpose is to add value for your audience or to make a big impact on your career over time. The bigger picture can be very motivational.

Clarify Your Goals

Persistence toward your goals is important. But before you can be persistent, you must be clear. Imagine yourself accomplishing your goals and imagine what your life will be like when you’re achieved them. This vision will pull you forward. In fact, another recent study showed when you imagine events and places clearly, you affect your emotions. This is the power of envisioning yourself accomplishing your goals. Whether you’re looking for a new job, a promotion or even just the next exciting project, picture what it will be like to achieve your desired outcomes to help pull you forward.

Take Small Steps

Rather than trying to consider how you’ll reach your entire set of objectives, break things into elements that are doable day-by-day. While keeping the big picture in mind is aspirational, you’ll be able to get things done more effectively by thinking step-by-step. What can you do today to get one step closer to your goal? For example, if your goal is to land a promotion, how might you get a coffee date set up with a mentor, share your latest results on your company blog or obtain feedback from a colleague on your new idea? Focusing on small, productive steps helps get you to your result and helps you maintain action and momentum.

Marshal Your Resources

Remember to rely on your colleagues and network of fans. Share your goals so others can hold you accountable and support you along the way. Seek to learn from others, obtain advice and ask for help.

Stick With It

No matter what, keep going. Sometimes you’ll have days where you feel like you’re getting closer to your goals, and other days you may feel like you’ve stepped back. Take a long-term view and appreciate the days when you’re making progress even though you’ll have other days when you don’t. Grit—the ability to maintain effort in the face of less progress—is often the factor that separates those who win from those who don’t.

Maintain Optimism

It may sound trite but looking on the bright side really does matter. Evidence is in the study that prompted this article. In addition to contributing toward positive mental health, it will also keep you motivated. You may not have knocked the proposal out of the park with a client, but you did obtain valuable experience about what not to do next time. Or perhaps the interview wasn’t a slam dunk, but you got more clarity on skills you need to develop. No matter the situation, focus on what you’ve gained.

It’s not just achieving the goal, it’s the positive pursuit of a goal that can be a benefit in and of itself. Keep your “why” in mind, clarify goals, stick with small steps, tap into your network and always look on the bright side. These concepts will help you accomplish your goals, be effective at work and even contribute to your positive mental health. Not bad to accomplish all of this in pursuit of your goals and purpose!

[“source=forbes”]