Halfway Through the Year: Revisiting Your Mental Health Goals

By July 1, 2024Mid Year Goals

It’s the beginning of July and we are officially halfway through the year!

Happy Summer, everyone! The solstice that just took place on June 20th marks our entry not only into summer but into the second half of 2024.

Here at the halfway point, we can pause to look six months back into our past and also cast our eyes six months forward into our hoped-for futures. At such a peak in the gorgeous, challenging trail called life, let’s take a moment to see how we are doing in comparison to our intentions for 2024.

Should you revise your mental health goals?

Thinking back to what you hoped 2024 would be about, how have things been going for you? If you’re like us, some things have gone beautifully, just as we had hoped and planned. Other topics are still on track but have changed shape or shifted priority, as we adapt to what emerges in life’s unfolding series of surprises. And, truth be told, a couple of projects we meant to tackle have fallen by the wayside completely. Oops!

What to do when life doesn’t resemble the plan we made for it? Not to worry, we can always change course, responding to the winds we’re dealing with now. Rather than getting stuck in the swamps of self-defeat, or letting this feel personal (it is not – all human beings struggle with enacting deeply desired changes in their lives), let’s take a breath, take a beat, and reassess.

Checking in with our mental health goals, what revisions might we wish to make? What have we learned from our attempts at putting intentions into practice? Where have we shined? Where have we biffed it? What can we do now, shaking off the past and letting ourselves have a new, fresh chance in the present?

Intentions or resolutions: words do matter

Resolutions fail, notoriously. Intentions, on the other hand, live forever in the ethers, as heart-seeds that can crack, sprout, grow, and bloom in their own best timing.

As the manifestation prayer “this, or something better” suggests, intentions leave a little more room for life to show us something we had not taken into account. Intentions are powerful statements of alignment and orientation, declarations of who we are.

Intentions are powerful, like white magic. When paired with action steps we are willing to do, intentions are the secret to how change happens.

Truly Intending to Meet Our Goals

Looking back on any failed attempts to change, we can learn a lot.

If our goals for 2024 didn’t happen as intended in the first half of the year, the reason is one of three things:

  • Our intention was not strong or clear enough
  • Our goals were not actionable – too big or too vague
  • Something unexpected happened

Let’s look at each of these possible weak spots and give some TLC to repair them.

Strengthening Intention

A well-chosen intention should feel fortifying and true. It is not a wishful thought, a lie, or even a stretch. It is a factual statement of genuine, sincere willingness.

If I get on a plane to Atlanta, there is no inner conflict when I say, “I intend to get to Atlanta”. Intentions can feel as clear and strong as that.

If we make a statement like “I intend to be sober, all day every day” and there is some vague feeling that that is not completely true, flush out that part of you that’s hesitating. Don’t judge it, just find out what it’s saying. This will be important information about where you’re at.

I intend to be sober, all day, every day. But I am afraid I will fail.

Sometimes it helps when something like that pops out, to try working with the phrase, “I am willing to…I want to…I hope to…”

I intend to be sober, all day, every day. I am willing to be sober all day, every day. I hope and I pray, and I ask the benevolent forces of the universe to please help me, that I succeed in being sober all day, every day. I want with all of my heart to be sober all day every day.

Life forgives us infinitely and gives us many chances. It is us who sometimes lack the self-love to take them. Even if we feel frail and unworthy, we can usually find, as they say in AA, “the willingness to be willing to be sober.” Start with whatever feels true.

Actionable Goals

Actionable goals need to be the right size, in the right time frame.

If I consider 90 meetings in 90 days, and that feels like too much to commit to, then I can set a goal of 30 meetings in 30 days first, and take it from there.

Find the size and timing that you can say “Oh, yes, absolutely I can do that” to, and work with that as a starting point.

Also remember that practice goals, where you just show up and do the practice, are usually easier than outcome-based goals.

For example, instead of saying, “I will clean out the garage”, you might find it easier to say, “I will spend 15 minutes, 3X a week, on cleaning out the garage, and see where I’m at by the end of the month”.

Again, the goal here is to find something that’s soft enough to feel like support and kindness, but not so soft that the avoidant parts of us rule. Be kind. Change is hard. But do the work to change, so that you can reap the rewards of your own self-love, too.

Adjusting to Unforeseen Events

Finally, it’s important to remember that life happens. Very little is in our immediate control, fortunately, or unfortunately!

If we go to a party where alcohol is served, it is not exactly unexpected that we end up relapsing. That is the inner addict taking advantage of us. But if we are faithfully doing our part, and new information and context emerge which makes it impossible to meet our goals, that is just life being life.

If we did not meet our target of doing 15 minutes of yoga every morning for 30 days, because our child ended up getting the stomach flu and needed our care, that is an unforeseen event.

We can acknowledge and accept when life is being life, and reset and recenter ourselves.

Over time, we may adjust our intentions and have contingency plans.

I intend to meditate every morning. If I happen to miss a meditation due to a genuinely unforeseen event, my policy is to make it up in the evening if I can, and if I can’t, to just try again the next day. As long as I am genuinely doing my best, that counts.

How can a woman shift from fear to gratitude?

The shift from fear to gratitude is one of the most powerful tools to work in any given moment. Here is a short, 15-minute writing activity you can try, which works on the spot.

Surround Your Fear with Powerful Gratitude

Step One: For about 7 minutes, write down some fears. You can use the phrase, “I am aware of fear related to…”

I am aware of fear related to my sister’s upcoming visit, I’m worried I’m going to get triggered…

Step Two: Take another 7 minutes to now identify at least three gratitudes that are somehow connected to each one of the fears you surfaced in Step One.

Sister: I am so grateful that we have such a good relationship. I know she has my back, in the end, and I know that she loves me even though I might disappoint her. I am grateful she’s coming out to visit. I’m grateful for her kids, they’re so fun, and that I have a good relationship with them.

How do you feel now?

Mental health intentions for the rest of 2024

a-woman-outside-meditatingNow is the time to consider, what intentions can you set for yourself, for the rest of 2024.

Here are some ideas for jumping off points:

What are some intentions related to protecting, nourishing, and supporting my sobriety?

What are some intentions related to physical exercise?

What are some intentions related to eating, food, and nutrition?

What are some intentions related to loved ones, friends, family, coworkers?

What are some intentions related to mindsets, attitudes, and thoughts?

What are some intentions related to my emotions, how I care for my inner world?

What are some intentions related to my spirituality?

What are some intentions related to protecting, nourishing, and supporting my mental health?

What are some intentions related to healing my trauma?

What are some intentions related to creative expression, career, or being of service?

What are 5 action steps a woman can take mid-year to achieve her mental health goals?

1. Tell the Truth to Someone Kind

Get together with someone who will kindly witness you, such as a therapist, a peer from your recovery community, or a safe friend. Tell them the truth about how it has gone with your 2024 goals until now.

The truth means not only where you did not fully show up for yourself, but also where you did. Sometimes it’s even more vulnerable to let ourselves be seen for the courage and tenderness of change.

Remember also that partially fulfilled goals are not the same thing as “nothing”. Shoot to share just the actual facts, they might be better than you think. The reason to have a kind friend there is to help you see yourself clearly, and not through the eyes of judgment.

2. Reframe Your Goals for the Second Half of the Year

Update your plan to today. Change what needs to be changed, eliminate unneeded things, incorporate new things, and bring your positive intentions forward into the now. This is your plan going forward. Share your intentions with someone who will get it, who will understand the tenderness behind this act.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

Don’t forget to be happy about the changes you did manage to enact. Honor yourself and your courage with some kind of a healthy reward that is meaningful to you. A simple, easy way to do this is to write yourself a love letter in which you truly acknowledge yourself.

Dear [Your Name],

Oh my gosh, you have so much to be proud of. You showed so much grit and courage! I know this wasn’t easy but you’re still here. Incredible!

4. Mourn Your Losses

If something bad happened this year, if you slipped or something else hit you hard, allow yourself to take that into account. The love letter might be a good place for this:

I want to take a moment to acknowledge that Fran’s relapsing hit you out of nowhere, and you weren’t expecting that. Of course that impacted you! I’m sorry you lost your sober friend.

5. Dream a Little Dream

Yes, reality happens, but dreams can help cushion us and connect to the magical realms within us which have a lot of power, even if we can’t quite always predict or control everything.

Give yourself a chance to dream forward, and imagine everything going perfectly from now on.

For 15 minutes, let yourself journal on what the perfect day would be, starting from the moment you open your eyes:

I wake up well rested and refreshed, in clean, silky sheets smelling like bergamot and jasmine. I feel strong, healthy, and relaxed, happy to be alive. I roll comfortably over and see….

Villa Kali Ma can assist women with mental health goals

Dear reader, we know that life is challenging and magical in the same breath. Villa Kali Ma is dedicated to women, to helping all of us reclaim our lives and live happily and healthfully from now on. It is never too late to try again, nor is anything that ever happened in the past a reason to withhold love from ourselves now. If you need a team on your side, come check us out!

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