2021: How Setting Goals Can Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelm
Posted: January 10, 2021
Have you felt disappointed, griefed, or uncertain regarding the past year of 2020? It has been a hard year for all of us to some degree or another. This could have been especially harder if you have experienced anxiety or trauma, it being like an avalanche has hit your life. The New Year brings a natural way to reset and restore our year and plan for our future. Everything may not be fully resolved from the past year but the New Year gives us an opportunity to collectively reset. Taking time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead is beneficial for reducing your anxiety and overwhelm. It can reduce anxiety by allowing yourself to learn from your past, instead of criticizing or judging. Self-criticism or judgment causes you to stay stuck in the past. You can’t move forward if “you should have” “you could have” “you can’t” “you’re not” dominate your thinking. This way of thinking about yourself keeps you focus only on your past and self-doubt, instead of focusing on what you can learn, what your true abilities are, and how you can move forward for yourself. Goal setting can reduce overwhelm by allowing you time to prioritize the things that are important to you and give you direction for your year and daily living. Overwhelm happens by taking on or experiencing too much at once and not knowing how to cope with what you are experiencing. Overwhelm decreases when you focus on what is important to you at the moment, instead of being driven by worry from your past or future. Setting goals can help you prioritize and organize the things that are important to you, giving you focus and control over your life. You can feel more confident this year by taking time, understanding, and control back by setting goals for yourself. Here are a few tips in goal setting that can help reduce anxiety and overwhelm in your 2021 year.
- Learn from your past, instead of criticizing or doubting: Take a moment to step back from your criticize or doubt. Ask yourself, “What can you learn from your disappointment, hurt, or mistake that can help you grow in this New Year?” This will help you in being more understanding towards yourself and become unstuck in your past (which creates anxiety in your present)
- Find your negative beliefs about your self this year and reframe them to the truth: “ I can’t make a mistake.” “I can learn from my mistakes” “ I won’t succeed” “ I have succeeded at ________, I can succeed.” “I can never trust again.” “ I can learn to trust safe people.”
- Write it down: We are more likely to accomplish our goals if we write them down. It helps the brain process our thoughts, be creative, and hold us accountable. It gets it out of our head and into action. So carve out some time in your day to write down your goals along with your truths about yourself.
- Create a healthy habit: This allows you to integrate your goal into your daily life. It can be a habit to journal every evening to reduce anxiety or make plans to work out every Tuesday/Thursday. When healthy habits are formed they reduce overwhelmed because it is just what you do. It takings away from additional choices and planning that can produce overwhelm.