Mental health matters: Building lasting change

Working toward goals is an important part of life, personally and professionally, but achieving those goals can be challenging. Oftentimes, people focus on the end goal and try to power their way through to the finish line, but when milestones are missed or old habits prove hard to break, they find themselves moving backward instead of forward. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, long term success requires changing your focus from mustering up willpower to setting clear goals, practicing positivity, appreciating the journey, adopting a growth mindset and celebrating along the way. 

Set clear goals. Lasting change does not happen overnight, so start with smaller daily goals and build your way up from there. For example, if you want to be more active, park farther away from your office or the grocery store, or if you want to eat healthier, aim to pack a lunch one day a week. Adjust your goals as needed, and aim to incorporate activities you enjoy to increase your motivation.

Practice positivity. Your mind has a powerful effect on your behavior, so pay attention to how you are thinking and talking to yourself about your goals. Encourage and affirm yourself, and ensure that you believe in your ability to reach your goals. If you doubt that you can achieve a goal, set a smaller one and boost your confidence before moving to a more challenging milestone. 

Appreciate the journey. What is it you enjoy about your new habit or behavior? Be mindful and take time to notice the beauty of the sky when you get up each morning or how much you benefited from a conversation with your exercise partner. As you find a renewed appreciation for your habits, layer those moments that bring you joy into your future plans to keep you motivated.

Adopt a growth mindset. Mastery begins with setbacks and failures, so when you inevitably face challenges, look at them as opportunities to grow and adapt. Instead of beating yourself up when something goes wrong, ask yourself what that moment taught you or how you could be flexible and do better next time. 

Celebrate along the way. Success creates momentum, so be intentional about honoring each step forward, no matter how big or small it may be. By doing so, you will feel more empowered, purposeful and proud when approaching your next obstacle.

If you need additional support, help is available through Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program by LifeWorks. The confidential, secure platform has countless resources available online for free. From 24/7 on-call counselors to practical tips on subjects like managing your budget, identifying anxiety in children and pursuing work-life balance, team members can find what they need, when they need it. 

Reach out to LifeWorks at (972) 925-4000, or visit and click on Benefits Resources to access online EAP information. Positive change is available to everyone, so do not hesitate to get the resources you need.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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