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Goal-setting can give you some extra motivation and encouragement, if you feel you need it. It may also help with your daily routine, giving you something to work towards to get you through the day.

You can set ‘big’ goals, such as travelling abroad or getting a job, or they can be more manageable things like learning to cook a new meal, spending 10 minutes cleaning your room, or finishing a piece of homework.

You might find that setting yourself little goals each day keeps you feeling more organised and stable, and you can always reward yourself for completing a goal. It’s important to remember that not achieving the goal you set for yourself isn’t something to feel ashamed of – you’re doing your best, and sometimes just getting out of bed is an amazing achievement! In fact, it can sometimes be useful to try the ‘three list technique’. This is where you write three lists of goals, one list to use if you’re having a bad day, one for if you’re having a normal day, and one for if you manage a good day. That way, even if you had a bad day, you’re still able to reward yourself for doing some smaller tasks, such as brushing your teeth or having a shower.

In this video, Clinical Psychologist Duncan Law gives some simple advice about how to set goals when you are feeling low or anxious:


There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.