How Setting Goals Helps With My Anxiety

How Setting Goals Helps With My Anxiety

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always suffered from really bad anxiety. I didn’t know it was anxiety until after I graduated high school and took my first psychology class in college. After I became educated about anxiety, I’ve been open to suggestions on how to control it. For the longest time, I ran away from my anxiety and thought if I pretended it wasn’t there, then I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

Photo Credit: Elle
Graphic credit: Anne

A lot of trial and error over the past few years has finally helped me to control my anxiety levels. Ever since I bought a planner back in 2017 and started planning my days, weeks and months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been calmer and my anxiety levels don’t get too high anymore.

From having a planner, I started setting goals. Some goals were small that I knew I could attain, some involved more work and some were just life-long goals that would take me at least a year to accomplish.

I will admit that when I didn’t accomplish a goal, I would get upset, but this motivated me to work harder to achieve it. I realized about six months after purchasing the day planner that setting goals helped with my anxiety. Setting goals gave me an excuse to keep my mind occupied instead of overthinking every little thing.

I first started off with daily goals that I knew I could accomplish. It could be as simple as “go for a walk for 10 minutes.” Setting goals gave me something to look forward to and I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt whenever I achieved them. Whenever I set goals, no matter how small or big, it made me not dread waking up in the morning. Instead, it made me excited to wake up and fulfill them because I loved the feeling I felt afterwards.

For a while, mainly in the beginning, setting goals didn’t help because I set unrealistic, unachievable goals and I would get disappointed in myself whenever I didn’t accomplish them. After a couple months, I noticed I was giving myself goals I KNEW I couldn’t accomplish and this made me feel worse. So then I started with just daily goals I knew I could accomplish to get my anxiety levels down and to make myself feel accomplished.

After about a month or two of giving myself gaily goals, I started giving myself weekly goals, then monthly goals and then finally, life-long goals. Every month, there would still be goals I hadn’t accomplished but I would look back at all the goals I did accomplish and they made me feel better about myself. Setting goals made me feel like I had something to look forward to, like I had a purpose.

These goals all had to do with different aspects of my life like school, work, my blog, personal life, and so forth. I didn’t limit myself to just one aspect of my life and I think that’s what really helped me and my anxiety. Limiting myself to just school goals or work goals would only make me feel like that’s all my life was about. So doing that didn’t motivate me much but when I made goals for every aspect of my life, it made me look forward to everything.

With setting goals, I’m able to look forward to things but I’m also able to look back on how far I’ve come. Whenever I get disappointed in myself for not accomplishing a goal, I flip through my planner to see all the goals I did accomplish and I compare my situation then to now and it makes me realize that I’m much further in my life than I was the last time.  It motivates me to know that I am continuously growing.

Setting goals honestly helped me to stop overreacting and overthinking because it gave me a challenge. It has helped me to push myself out of my comfort zone and to occupy not only myself but my mind. Before I started setting goals, my mind would always wander off and I would start to overthink and eventually, I would get upset.

Now that I’m constantly setting goals for myself, they help me to plan my life to actually accomplish things and to work towards a better future. They help me to not just sit around and dwell on the past but to continuously better myself as a person so that “future me” can thank me whenever I start to feel like I haven’t accomplished much. Setting these goals motivates me to want to keep going and to never stop trying, and because of that, I feel less anxious.

So although it has taken some trial and error throughout the years to control my anxiety, I feel better with myself and I am confident that I am in a good place in my life. And these goals continuously push me to do even better and not stay at a too comfortable place forever.

So for anyone who suffers from anxiety, I strongly recommend setting goals for yourself, no matter how small or big they are, because the sense of fulfillment after you achieve them is one of the best feelings in the world. And if you don’t accomplish a goal, you can always look back and see how much progress you have made from then to now. And it’s another reason to help you look forward to the future and push yourself to grow.

About The Author…

Linda Tran is the Marketing Executive at the Quiet Nonsense. She’s currently from the Boston area with goals of relocating to New York City within the next few years to hopefully pursue a marketing career in the fashion industry. She will be graduating at the end of April from Southern New Hampshire with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and immediately starting graduate school in May. In her free time, she has a fashion blog that she’s committed and dedicated to

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Photo and graphic credit: Anne
Photo credit: Kayla Graphic credit: Lex

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