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Mental Mondays: Why You Might Feel Down After Acing A Major Goal

Mental Mondays: Why You Might Feel Down After Acing A Major Goal

Setting goals are a major part of making progress. While everyone was excited to be part of the new year, Isabel was already plotting in her mind and telling herself she won’t fall for the New Year euphoria that eventually wears off, sending us back to the default “business as usual” way of doing things. This inspired her to pen down action points, which guided her focus and drive all through the year.

Fast forward to the end of the year, and with all gratitude for goal setting and discipline, Isabel did a great job striking off all her major goals, but the excitement and fulfillment she expected were fleeting. The buzz of congratulations from friends, family, and social media felt good alongside the accomplished goals. However, sooner than she envisioned, a feeling of emptiness crept in, and Isabel started to feel downcast and confused.

When an individual sets a goal, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which creates anticipation and a drive towards the goal, especially at the beginning and end of the journey. It might be that the dopamine has worn off and the feeling of anticipating a reward for hard work has faded. Whatever the case, you are sad, and that’s not the expected feeling after all this hard work.

Check out why you might be depressed after reaching your goals, and a few helpful tips…

#1. Too much free time


Remember when 24 hours didn’t seem enough because there was so much to do, but so little time? And now, there’s so much free time you’re starting to feel unproductive. Nature abhors a vacuum, and going from being overbooked to having too much free time to yourself might trigger a feeling of uselessness. The solution might be consciousness. Maybe count your blessings, remember the process/journey, and understand that you deserve to rest and recuperate before jumping back to the next goal. Also, create a schedule that recognizes work-life balance, and perhaps work on other projects simultaneously to avoid this feeling in the future.

#2. On to the next one

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Ideally, some projects/goals can be demanding and might not allow other projects to be handled simultaneously. In this case, creating a seamless pattern for transition might be helpful. This way, you might avoid being depressed after reaching a goal, because there’s yet another project in the pipeline.

#3. Isolated and lonely

Photo: Anna Shvets / Pexels

Perhaps, you lost friends because you were too busy focusing on your goals. Now with your goals reached, there is deep sitting loneliness, which conveniently replaced the free space. Humans are naturally relational beings, and contrary to the “I cut people off” trend, no one is an island. Try to surround yourself with people of substance, so they inspire you, rather than distract you from your goals.

#4. Self-worth issues

Photo: Yayra Nutakor from Pexels

Some individuals draw their sense of relevance from their jobs or activities. Maybe this goal was only a distraction from major issues, like poor self-esteem, which easily ties your worth to a goal or craft. Now that the goal is done and dusted, the light has again been shed on the real issue of unhealthy self-esteem. How do you know? If that goal is taken away from you, do you still believe yourself to be a spec? Do you believe you are much more than a goal? Do you believe in yourself enough to know that you are the one who adds value to things, not the other way round?

#5. Teach others

Photo: Monstera / Pexels

It’s ironic, but sometimes the answer to combating the feeling of being depressed after reaching a major goal might be hidden in your ability to pass on knowledge and mentor others. Rather than sitting around and wallowing in any type of negativity, consider dropping the rungs and letting others climb up through your experience and expertise. Share your challenges, skills, and hacks, then you’ll realize how therapeutic and exciting this gesture could be for you too.

Featured Image: Dziana Hasanbekava | Pexels

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