Pursuing Dreams and Setting Goals with a Mental Illness

September 6, 2017 Megan Rahm

Pursuing dreams by setting goals with a mental illness (or without) gives you a sense of purpose. Here are my tips on setting goals that can help you too.

Setting goals is a great way to move your life forward whether you have a mental illness or not. Doctors diagnosed me with bulimia and schizoaffective disorder about 10 years ago, but mental illnesses haven’t stopped me from wanting my own successful business. It is easy to get off track when you’re struggling with symptoms of a mental illness, but I’ve remained as persistent as possible. Here's how I set goals with a mental illness.

Don’t downgrade your dreams to match your reality. –Stuart Scott

I have these words hanging on my office wall to remind me that even though my family has struggled, it’s still important to work hard to realize our dreams. I’d like to share the methods I am using to work toward my goal of owning a successful business even with a mental illness. Hopefully, you will find them helpful, too.

Setting Goals with a Mental Illness

Here are some ideas I suggest you consider to reach your goals with mental illness.

Write Down Your Goals

I have a notebook where I write down my goals. This always makes my goals seem more permanent, like I’ve made a commitment by putting it on paper. I’ve also written down my goals by developing mission and vision statements for my business.

Break Goals into Smaller Steps

I have also written down annual, monthly, and even daily goals. When you break it into smaller steps, your goal isn’t as overwhelming and you can see your progress better. I love making lists and checking off the tasks as I go.

Seek Guidance for Reaching Your Goals

It’s so helpful to ask for help from people who’ve been there. I have a mentor from a local business organization. My local library has also been an amazing resource and online training is great as well. Most of the training I have completed I found on YouTube. Maybe a past instructor from school could also be helpful. Don’t forget online communities and forums related to your goal.

Stay Organized

I find that when things are easy to find and you plan ahead, your day runs a lot more smoothly. It can be overwhelming if things are chaotic and out of place. I feel more anxious when I am disorganized. Planners and calendars are very helpful and I try to keep my workspace clean.

Track Your Progress

For the past year, I have been keeping a daily record of sales and hours worked. When you track your progress, it’s amazing to look back and see how far you’ve come. You’ll most likely feel pride and a sense of accomplishment.

Ask for Help

I often ask my family for their help. My parents babysit our daughter when we meet with my mentor. My husband always provides great feedback and ideas. It can be extremely helpful to let your support group in on your goals, even if it’s just to cheer you on.

Goal-Setting with Mental Illness Gives Life Purpose

I have not yet accomplished my goal with mental illness, but I am well on my way and working very hard. I hope you have found these methods helpful. Setting and working toward goals can give you a sense of purpose and make life more meaningful.

Do you have any helpful tips about setting goals with mental illness? I would love to read them in the comments below.

APA Reference
Rahm, M. (2017, September 6). Pursuing Dreams and Setting Goals with a Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 31 from

Author: Megan Rahm

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Terry Abate
January, 25 2020 at 8:37 pm

Megan your article was excellent I have paranoid schizophrenia and I struggle with apathy I think your goalsetting techniques are very good and they will help me thank you for your article and keep on Keeping on Terry

May, 1 2018 at 12:44 pm

I don't my son is going through this now I would love to hear more

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