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CBT and Goal Setting - For Mental Health

Happy World Mental Health Day Event

By Jessica Wilson Published about a year ago 8 min read
CBT and Goal Setting - For Mental Health
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Happy World Mental Health Day

Today I’m going to talk about CBT, goal setting, and a little about the Clubhouse International Seminars!

This Sunday October 10 is World Mental Health Day!

Our clubhouse Potential Place just joined clubhouses all over the world in the Clubhouse International Seminars. It was fun to here from different clubhouses on a variety of topics. Usually the seminars happen in person and this year it was virtual so so many more people could join.

We also got to connect with each other through asking questions to the speakers as well as each other and replying with comments. Some people created their own group meetups as well.

So many people were excited to be there, from small clubhouses to large and everyone in between, including a group of people starting up a clubhouse in Kenya.

The International Clubhouse model is used by over 300 clubhouses world wide and can really help people with mental illness to become successful and lead happy lives.

I know for so many people with mental illness, that isolation can be devastating and clubhouse gives an opportunity to not feel so lonely. Potential Place in Calgary is a clubhouse for anyone with a mental illness and they help members to get back on their feet. It can take work and time to heal from mental illness and is a life long journey of ups and downs, but recovery is possible.

If you feel sad and lonely, know that you aren’t alone and that there is hope. Their is organizations to help and there’s is so many, from the kids help phone, the distress centre where you can call to talk to someone, there’s the Calgary’s Counceling Centre, and more.

Also there is ways to make changes in your mental health through learning from books or classes and there’s lots of mental health tools you can learn from home. I will be talking about CBT and goal setting. Remember that even something as simple as eating right, getting enough exercise and having a healthy social life plays a key role in our mental health.

It’s the little steps of healing that can lead towards a happier life. Whatever that looks like for you.

We often want to think ourselves out of a problem which doesn’t really work, unless your doing it consciously like through journaling or talking about it or reflecting on things. You generally can’t just sit there and think your way out of a problem.

In CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, they talk about the triangle of thoughts feelings and actions. Let me ask you, which of these is the easiest to make a change in? Well the answers is simple, behaviour.

Now once you change one of these three areas, the others will be effected. You could say, I’m going to start thinking differently, or Ive decided to start feeling different, and though this is a good start and there is many ways to do that, simply changing one behaviour can be a really good place to start.

Now having goals can help with this. Something realistic, something specific like I’m going to go sit in nature for just five minutes. To get out of the house and clear my head. Now it might sound small but if we can just start with what’s possible, we begin to feel better and more in control.

This could be anything meaningful for you. When setting goals, we can think of smart goals.

S- Specific. I’m going to go for a walk.

M - Measurable. I’m going to go for a ten minute walk, or I’m going to walk all the way to a specific destination and back

A - Achievable. Remember to start with what you can achieve.

R - Relevant. Your goals should align with your values and long term objectives.

T - Time based. Like I’m going to do this on a certain day, or by a certain day.

Once you get a footing on your goal you can set another one or extend the current one to be more challenging.

The thought part of the CBT triangle can be dealt with by addressing inaccurate or worrisome thoughts. Often we become afraid and anxious because we are looking at things from a distorted way, and we can begin to address this with cognitive behavioural therapy.

Such as, I was at work and my boss walked pass my office and rolled his eyes. I might think that he was disappointed in me and the last project I did. I could start feeling bad about myself and ruminating around this.

But in CBT we can begin to dismantle these thoughts. What other alternative could their be to the situation?

What if my boss actually just had bad acid reflux, what if he just remember he forgot to make an important phone call he was supposed to make by yesterday or something similar. What if it didn’t have to do with me all. We often judge things through negative lenses when they really aren’t that way at all.

So often, we have these thoughts and we base our emotions around thoughts that aren’t even true. By exploring this we can not only change our perception, but it can help us feel even better too.

Often when your really stressed, you could begin to think of the thoughts contributing to that stress, and use CBT tools like this one.

When you begin to identify alternative thoughts that may be more realistic, you can see what kind of thought distortions you had about that thought.

In CBT there is a list of thought distortions. For example, this one is an example of the thought distortion called jumping to conclusion, where we jump to conclusion based on the wrong information we just assume to be true.

These include:

All or Nothing Thinking.

This type of thinking involves viewing things in absolute terms. Everything is black or white, everything or nothing.


This happens when you make a rule after a single event or even a series of coincidences. The words "always" or "never" are frequently used.

Mental Filters

A mental filter is the opposite of overgeneralization, but with the same negative outcome.

Discounting the Positive

This involves ignoring or invalidating good things that have happened to you.

Jumping to Conclusions

There are two ways of jumping to conclusions:

Mind reading: When you predict someone is going to react in a particular way, or you assume someone is thinking things that they aren't.

Fortune telling: When you predict events will happen in a particular way, often we do this to avoid trying something new or difficult.


Magnification is exaggerating the importance of shortcomings and problems while minimizing the importance of good qualities.

Emotional Reasoning

Emotional reasoning is a way of judging yourself or your circumstances based on how you feel.

Should" Statements

These statements are self-defeating ways we talk to ourselves that emphasize unrealistic standards. Then, when we fall short of our own standards, we fail in our own mind, which can create fear and anxiety.


Labeling is a cognitive distortion that involves making a judgment about ourself or someone else as a person as a whole, rather than seeing that the behaviour is just something the person did and that it doesn’t define who they are

Personalization and Blame

Personalization and blame is a cognitive distortion whereby you completely blame yourself, or someone else, for a situation that in reality involved many different factors and was out of your control.


Which can often happen when we feel like something bad will happen just simply because we are anxious. When we step back and look at the facts we can begin to relax and realize just because I’m feeling anxious doesn’t mean something bad will happen.

The third item on the triangle is emotions. When we change our thoughts or our actions, our emotions change. When we do little things that make us feel better we can begin to see that actually we are capable of making some of the changes we need in order to feel better even if it’s one little step at a time.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one of many tools when helping your mental health. It’s well researched and is used in clinics, psychiatric hospitals, group therapy and as a general tool that can help in a variety of different mental health conditions. Jeff Riggenbach has written books on the subject teaching people how to use these tools for themselves.

His website is

Cbt teaches us to think positive yes but it’s more about thinking realistically.

Please let me know what you do to stay mentally well, and if you have worked with CBT and how it’s helped you. I would love to here your comments.

Thanks for reading and Happy World Mental Health Day!

You are not alone and you are cared about, you matter, you are important, and you got this.

You have your own unique strengths and gifts and there’s lots of ways for you take care of your self and meet your needs.

Take care and be well.


About the Creator

Jessica Wilson

I'm passionate about mental health, nature, community, equality and respect.

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