Support for Personal Goals and Self-Development
Most of us have personal, professional, and other types of goals that we want to achieve at some point in life. You don’t need to be suffering through a mental health crisis to see a psychologist. Psychotherapy can also be about learning about yourself and growing into the most fulfilled version of you. Personal self-development goals are a great way to get there!
At Reimagine Psychology Melbourne, we redefine what “self-development” really means. Together, let’s work toward your goals while also working toward accepting that you’re already good enough as you are.
Why is goal setting important?
It sometimes feels like we’re living in a world where we should always be bettering ourselves. Every bookstore has aisles filled with self-help books designed to help you reach the “best” version of you.
Maybe you’ve decided that self-development isn’t for you, and you like your life exactly how it is. To that we say: that’s amazing! There’s nothing better than being totally content with who you are and where you're at!
Most of the time, though, people do have some sort of personal self-development goal they want to work towards. Your goals might seem simple, like wanting to be better about staying in touch with loved ones. Or it might be a huge, life-altering goal, like wanting to radically change the way you feel about yourself.
Having goals is actually healthy. Goals can help you overcome obstacles in life and help you to make progress towards living a life that’s in-tune with your values. And living according to your values is a great way to become a happier person overall. Goal-setting can also be particularly important if
you live with mental illness; self-development goals can help you make small lifestyle changes that lead to less severe symptoms.
At the end of the day, the self-development goals that you decide to work towards are up to you to decide. You are the expert on your life, and only you know what types of goals will bring you closer to the life you’ve envisioned for yourself.
However, at Reimagine Psychology Melbourne, we have some tips for those who don’t know where to start when it comes to goal-setting or personal development. These aren’t strict rules, but guidelines for goal-setting that we’ve based on both research and our years of experience.
Tips for Setting Self-Development Goals
#1 Measurable goals are almost always better than vague ones.
We’ve noticed that often, when people set personal goals for self-development, they don’t get specific enough with their vision. When you think about what you want for your life and your future, what do you imagine? Get as specific as possible. How will you know when you’ve achieved this goal?
For example, many people want to be “happier.” And that’s wonderful -- who doesn’t want to be happier?
The challenge with having the personal goal of “be happier,” though, is that “happiness” can be tricky to measure. How will you know when you’ve met your goal of becoming happier? What, exactly, will be different about your life when you’ve met this goal? What does “happiness” mean to you, and when will you know that you’re happy “enough”?
Instead of “be happier,” a more measurable personal goal might be “have at least 2 close friends in my life who I feel like I can turn to for anything” or “feel anxious only 1 day a week (vs. the 6 days a week I feel anxious now).” The difference is that these measurable goals allow you to know, exactly, when you’ve met them.
#2 It often helps to break self-development goals into smaller steps.
The reason why it sometimes feels so overwhelming to start working toward your goals is because they can feel so big. Okay -- so you’ve decided that you want to be more confident in your body (following our #1 guideline, the specific goal might be: “Be willing to wear togs all summer without feeling shame.”). Where does one even start with a goal like that?
We’ve found it helpful to break goals up into small steps. Don’t worry about getting to the final result. What’s one small step you can take to get a little closer to the ultimate goal? For example, do you need to follow more body-positive influencers on Instagram? Would buying some togs that make you feel beautiful be helpful?
Make each step into a self-development goal while keeping the big picture in mind.
#3 Having goals doesn’t mean that you can’t accept yourself as you are.
It seems counterintuitive, but we at Reimagine Psychology strongly believe that you can work toward bettering or developing yourself while you simultaneously work toward accepting yourself, exactly as you are, exactly where you are.
Don’t use self-development as an excuse to pour self-hatred on yourself for who you are today. It’s okay - and even helpful - to have personal goals. But goals don’t necessarily need to be about making you “better.” You are good enough as you are; self-development goals can instead be more focused on living a life that’s more aligned with your values.
Goals and Self-Development: How Can a Psychologist Help?
It’s called self-development for a reason; you don’t necessarily need professional support to reach your personal goals. If you feel confident about doing it on your own, fantastic! We are rooting for you. If you do feel like you need some support, however, there’s no shame in that either.
Our team of experienced, down-to-earth psychologists can help you reach your self-development goals in a number of different ways. First, we can help increase your motivation. One of the hardest parts of reaching a goal is maintaining the motivation to work towards it. It’s totally human for motivation to come and go, but without motivation, it’s really hard to make progress.
Using Motivational Interviewing, our psychologists can work with you to uncover the motivation that’s buried within you. Why does self-development matter to you, truly? How would reaching your goals make a difference to your life? And what would it take to make you feel more confident about your ability to meet these goals?
Together, we can find the answers to these questions and use them to help you remember why these goals were important to you to begin with.
Solution-focused therapy is another way our team can help. Solution-focused therapy is a brief therapy method that’s designed to help people find solutions to their problems. Rather than focusing on past problems you’ve been through, like many other types of therapy do, it focuses on the future -- and how to help you get where you want to go. Using solution-focused therapy, our team can help you to uncover your strengths and use them to build a life for yourself that you really love.
Schedule an Appointment in Melbourne or Online
Seeing a therapist isn’t only for when you’re going through a mental health crisis. Setting personal development goals and designing a life that you love can be a great way to practice self-care and approach your mental health from a holistic perspective. Our team of down-to-earth psychologists is ready to explore this topic with you -- and to remind you to love yourself along the way.
For more information or to book an appointment with one of our experienced Psychologists, call the team at Reimagine Psychology Melbourne on (03) 8330 5588 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.