Get a shot of Dopamine: The mental health benefits of setting and achieving goals.


How often do you set your goals? And how often do you re-read your goals from your list?


You’ve all known that setting goals is a very smart thing to do, but we don’t often realize how important they are for our mental health. Setting realistic goals keeps you focused, sustains your life momentum, triggers new behaviors, and does wonders for your mental health.


The actions to achieve goals are the ways to promote a sense of self mystery and help align your focus. A new research study was conducted among 3000 participants to analyze the importance of setting goals. It was found that those people tended to have less depression and anxiety and displayed persistent and optimistic behavior. In another study, it was found that the people who were more likely to adopt and accept healthy behaviors have a greater sense of life purpose. Let’s discuss the advantages of setting and achieving goals for our mental health.


The Benefits of Goal Setting


Dopamine Boost


Your brain gives you a shot of dopamine when you wish to achieve something, and you finally get it. It can be a reward, a dream job, a life partner, a text message, or maybe a candy bar.


The neurotransmitter dopamine is linked with the happiness that we achieved by achieving something. Dopamine levels rise when you set goals and when you achieve them. Dopamine is something that gives you the motivation to achieve your goals that ultimately have positive effects on your mental health. High motivation means a high level of motivation, while low motivation is achieved by a low level of motivation.


It is possible to boost the level of dopamine by setting and achieving small goals. If you commit yourself to do hard work and then you actually achieve your goals, your brain will ultimately undergo a spike in dopamine. This is the reason that people actually love to work on the to-do list. In this way, you keep checking the things to get a hit of dopamine that is highly significant for your mental health. Repetitive behavior of having the dopamine levels, motivates you to repeat the process of setting goals and work hard to achieve them.


If you break down the bigger goals into smaller achievable sections, you will keep the dopamine flowing. Every time you achieve your smaller goals, you will get a shot of dopamine. For instance, if you want to work out fifteen days in a month, mark each success on the calendar throughout your week. In this way, your brain will see, register the achievements, and ultimately the level of dopamine keeps flowing.


Increased Dopamine = More Productivity


Goal setting and achieving is the ultimate way to get a high shot of dopamine that directly increases your overall life productivity. Your performance from goal setting gets improved when


You have sufficiently challenging and specific goals

Concerning goals, feedback is given to show progress.

You get a reward, maybe in the form of money, whenever you achieve a goal

The manager, experimenter, or friend is supportive


Setting goals give you the feeling of happiness


Our values and dreams turn into reality by setting goals. Happiness is not just a life happening, instead, it’s the feeling that comes from different processes, such as planning, thinking, and pursuing things that have significant importance for us. According to scientific research, happiness is achieved by setting and working towards important goals, including


Goals are a source of interest and pleasure.

Give us a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

When we achieve things according to our desires, it brings us a sense of accomplishment.


Goals help us to maintain our focus; that is highly important for our well-being.


Valuable Experiences


Valuable experiences are achieved by setting goals that are not only beneficial for your mental health but your overall life. The practice of setting and aching goals gives you valuable experiences from resilience, independence, and kindness, to forgiveness which all do wonders for keeping you mentally healthy. All these skills have significant importance for your overall health and overall happiness.


Setting goals is something that makes you grow as an effective person. You will get the biggest satisfaction in life by reaping the rewards, healthier direction, and evolve in a positive direction.


Therefore, setting goals, working hard on the different steps, and taking action to achieve them can boost your self-esteem, improve overall life satisfaction.


People who have the habit of setting goals are more successful and happier, but the goals should be SMART.


The Downside of setting goals


Depression and Anxiety


Goals having no specific aims in life can have harmful effects on your overall mental health. It’s hard to reach a goal if it’s too vague. According to a study, it has been found that nonspecific and too vague goals can make a person feel depressed which is a major mental health issue.


Setting unattainable, irrelevant, and non-specific goals can increase the level of anxiety.


Sense of Failure


Achieving a goal gives you the feeling of accomplishment and makes you happy. However, people often feel pretty lousy by getting off the track and not meeting a goal. Not reaching the goal gives a sense of failure, demotivation and leads a person to self-criticism.


Therefore, plan your life by working on the strategy of SMART goals.


It means that your goals should be specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. To keep on track, build a healthy network of your friends and include your Mentors in your social circle. Setting group goals allow you to work as a team with more amazing results. This will create a sense of community, a significant feeling of satisfaction, belonging and keeps you mentally healthy.



If you need assistance with identifying your goals and making your vision a reality, see our Vision Goal Workbook.


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