The new year is here, and you know what that means – time for a fresh start and new goals! Many of us have financial or career goals that we hope to accomplish. As emotional support humans, we also want to set goals that help us support our loved ones! Setting these goals not only benefits us, but it also helps us to be the best support system possible for our loved ones. So, let’s talk about how to set goals as an emotional support human that will help us continue to show up for friends and family.
The Importance of Goal Setting
First things first, let’s talk about why goal setting is so important. There is a science and psychology to goal setting. According to PositivePsychology.com, “Goal setting is an essential tool for self-motivation and self-drive – both at personal and professional levels. It gives meaning to our actions and the purpose of achieving something higher.” Goal setting gives us a roadmap of where we are headed and helps us stay on track. Plus, research shows that people who set goals tend to have a more positive outlook on life and see failures as temporary setbacks. When it comes to supporting our loved ones, setting goals can help us and our loved ones feel fulfilled.
Examples of Mental Health Goals
Supporting loved ones emotionally can be a rewarding task. Whether you are trying to be there for a friend going through a tough time, or you are trying to be a supportive partner or parent, it is important to set clear goals for how you can best provide emotional support.
Just like any goal, your emotional support goals should be unique and catered to you and your loved one’s specific needs. Here are some examples of goals that you might set to help emotionally support your loved ones:
- “I will listen to my loved one for at least 20 minutes without interruption or problem solving.”
- “I will check in on loved ones going through a tough time at least twice a week.”
- “I will try to understand my loved ones' perspective and validate their feelings.”
- “I will try to create a safe space for loved ones to feel comfortable approaching me with their struggles.”
- “I will make an effort to educate myself on my loved ones’ struggles.”
- “I will try to be more understanding and patient with loved ones who are struggling.”
- “I will try to educate myself on ways to support loved ones who are struggling.”
- “I will directly ask loved ones how I can best support them.”
These are just a few examples, and the specific goals you set will depend on the needs and circumstances of your loved ones.
How To Set Goals as an Emotional Support Human
1) Identify the “Why” for Your Goal Setting
Before setting any goals, first identify the purpose and or reasoning behind them. You should avoid setting these goals based on someone else’s suggestions or societal views. Instead, personalize your goals. Make sure your goals are rooted in your values, and based on what you want for your relationships with your loved ones and on what they need.
2) Make SMART Goals
You may be familiar with SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. This is a very popular method that’s used to successfully achieve goals and it can apply to emotional support goal setting too.
3) Acknowledge It Will Take Time
Working toward and achieving your goals doesn’t happen overnight, so be prepared for a gradual process. You might get discouraged, slip up, or begin to doubt yourself, and that’s ok. If you find things aren’t working, pause, take a step back, and re-adjust your goals as needed. What matters is that you continue to push through while holding yourself accountable.
Ready, Set, Goal!
Setting goals for the new year, based on a desire to offer emotional support for loved ones, can be highly beneficial. These goals can help us show up as our best emotional support human selves. So, take time to set goals for your support journey. And, above all, remember to be kind to yourself. Take note of your small wins and reward yourself for how far you’ve come so you can continue showing up as an emotional support human.