How Goal-Setting Can Help Your Anxiety

January 5, 2021 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

It's the start of a new year, and you may have decided on setting some New Year's resolutions for yourself. This is a great way to start the year, and it is something I try to do every year as well. What I have found over the years is that it is not only a great thing to set goals for myself, but it is also a helpful way to control my anxiety.

Many times, I feel anxious because of a lack of control over something. I tend to feel worried about things that may happen in the future, and that worry becomes overwhelming. Often, when this happens, I feel overcome with panic, and then all of the other symptoms of anxiety that I usually experience start to affect me. But focusing on things that help me stay grounded helps prevent me from feeling as though my circumstances are spinning out of control. One of those methods that I use to stay grounded is to focus on goals, lowering my anxiety.

Tips for Using Goal-Setting to Manage Your Anxiety

When you deal with chronic anxiety, it is difficult when you feel as though you don't have a grasp on your current situation and things feel uncertain. Constant worry is hard for me to manage because I feel like I have a lack of control over what is going to happen in the future. The sense that things are spiraling out of control can result in a feeling of fear and a sense of impending doom.

But setting goals can be a point of focus that prevents you from feeling extremely anxious. These are ways that you can use goal-setting to reduce feelings of anxiety.

  1. Decide on a goal that you want to set for yourself. Let's call New Year's resolutions for what they are -- goals. They are goals that you want to accomplish. Setting goals for yourself should be motivating, and they should be something that you are excited for and passionate about. This is a great way to set your sights on something for the year. I find that if I set a goal for myself that I want to accomplish in the year, I can focus on the motivation that I feel to accomplish that goal instead of other things that I am anxious about.
  2. Set short-term goals to reach on the way to the major goal. Setting short-term goals can help you stay motivated as you accomplish each one on the way to the larger goal. Smaller goals can also help you to stay grounded. For example, if I set a goal of exercising five days a week, starting off with exercising one day a week is a great way to feel accomplished.
  3. Have people in your corner to cheer you on. I think this is so important to help you stay motivated. And this can help increase your self-confidence and decrease any self-doubt. Increasing your confidence can help reduce any anxiety that you feel. Having people in your corner to remind you of what you want to accomplish and support you on the way is a great way to help you feel determined and encouraged.

In these uncertain times, there is a lot to feel anxious about. But focusing on things that you want to accomplish can help you feel motivated and focused on something positive instead of focusing on negative things and then feeling anxious about those things. Try these tips to help you use goal-setting in the New Year to reduce your anxiety. If there are ways that you set goals for yourself that you find keep you from feeling anxious, share those in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2021, January 5). How Goal-Setting Can Help Your Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

Lizanne Corbit
January, 5 2021 at 8:31 pm

We often see conversations around the anxiety that goal-setting can cause, so I love seeing a conversation about how they can actually help! As with all things, mindful practices are needed and the ones you've outlined are fantastic. Love the addition of having people in your corner. Happy new year and new goals to you!

January, 7 2021 at 11:59 am

Hi Lizanne,
You are absolutely right that goal-setting can often be associated with anxiety! This is indeed a way to make goal-setting helpful instead of anxiety-inducing. I think what often happens is that the idea of setting goals can sometimes be daunting; however, if we set them strategically and in a way that they are realistic and reachable, they can instead be helpful.
Thank you so much for your comments! Happy New Year to you, as well!

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