You Shouldn’t Have To Sacrifice Your Mental Health To Achieve Your Goals

When it comes to ambition, it’s easy to allow big visions to eclipse our needs.

In fact, burnout is reaching epidemic levels in our workforce. In 2019, some studies estimated that over two-thirds of employees experienced symptoms.

Unrealistic demands and a lack of healthy work-life balance can partially be to blame, but so can accelerating ambition.

In fact, it is likely that the points at which you have experienced the most severe burnout are, ironically, the times in which you are most trying to move your life forward into a healthier, happier and more stable place.

You want to achieve greater degrees of financial freedom, so you take on a side-gig. 

You want a promotion, so you take on a new project. 

You want to push your brand to the next level, so you start putting all of your attention on media, and following, and content.

None of this is problematic on its own, but what begins to happen is that we assume our ambitions should be all-consuming. We know that big dreams require big work to back them, but when does all of that work start to hit a tipping point and negatively impact our mental wellness?

More importantly, can we ever really justify that?

The answer is no.

Progress at the expense of your mental health is not real progress. It is the continuation of the old patterns of behavior that got you stuck in the first place.

Sometimes, the reason why we aren’t quite achieving what we want to be is not because we are incapable, but because we cannot push ourselves beyond our capacity, past our limits, and to the very edges of our tolerance long-term; it’s simply not a sustainable way to exist.

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This is how to figure out whether or not your goals are actually healthy for you.

How to figure out what is a good goal for you

How do you select your goals?

If you’re like most people, you imagine what would seem impressive and be somewhat enjoyable or profitable, and find where those two things mix.

You probably think through your elevator speech, updating your social media bios, what other people might think when they see you doing such-and-such a thing.

None of this takes into consideration, however, the day-in and day-out routines and activities you would need to commit to in order to achieve, and sustain, this goal. That is what you need to think about first. 

Think about what your average day would look like, and go from there.

If it is in alignment with your highest mental, emotional and personal wellness, then you probably have a sustainable plan.

Decide what is going to be enough for you.

If you do not decide what is going to be enough for your life, you will simply never be content.

You need to make a decision about what you want your day-to-day life to look like; what you absolutely must achieve in order to feel fulfillment and what you can go without; what you care about having or earning, and what you don’t. 

The clearer you are on what is enough for you, you’ll be able to start living up to your own standards and finding deeper (and genuine) fulfillment. 

Get out of other people’s heads.

Tune into how you feel instead.

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Rather than focusing on how other people might perceive your successes, focus instead on how they make you feel while doing them. This is your most accurate gauge of what you’re doing for show, and what you’re doing because it’s an authentic desire.

Set boundaries with yourself.

No matter what you’re doing, make sure you set boundaries with yourself, first.

We often think that we need to set boundaries with our families, coworkers or clients, when in fact it is something we must do individually initially. When we set routines around when we are or aren’t available, what work we are or aren’t willing to do, etc.; we end up actually teaching everyone we work with how to treat us.

If we don’t answer emails at 9 PM, people quickly learn that we aren’t available at that time. However, that boundary starts with our own self-discipline, not waiting for everyone to magically stop messaging you when you don’t want to be contacted.

Regardless, you have to set the tone and pace of your own life, and then honor it. 

If you stick with it, other people will, too.


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