How's Your Mental Fitness? - Written by Adrienne O'Neal

How’s Your Mental Fitness?

It’s that time of year again, people are talking about New Year’s Resolutions.

Many use this time as inspiration to set new goals like more exercise, saving money, or getting organized. And for some it is to start therapy and pursue self-growth or improve relationships. I like to think of these goals as mental and emotional fitness.

One of the questions a therapist will ask during the first session might be, “What are your goals for counseling?” Once the goals are established we often see  limiting thoughts, behaviors, and/or feelings are likely at the root of difficulties in achieving personal and professional goals. Sometimes we have difficulty reaching our goals. One reason could be that these are easy goals to achieve, so why not go after them again this year.  Another reason could be that these are impossible goals to achieve, but still important enough to make us persist. We may become anxious, procrastinate, overwhelmed, or simply don’t know how or where to start.

Working on our work on our mental and emotional fitness can be hard work, especially when we may be unsure of which areas need attention.  Should I go to a gym for that?  What kind of exercise can I do to be mentally healthy? Can I get a personal trainer? What is mental fitness anyway?

Fitness. Strength.  Endurance. Flexibility.

Mental fitness is the ability to think, feel, and act in ways which enable us to reach our goals, meet our needs, and conquer all the challenges we encounter, whether they are internal or external. Mental strength means you have the confidence to pursue your goals, the courage to accept any challenges, and the ability to come up with creative solutions to life problems. Mental endurance means you are able to stay focused and to be in the moment, you stick to the plan and work on tasks or projects even when bored or unmotivated. And mental flexibility means that you are thinking outside the box, you are able to see other people’s point of view, and you can admit that you made a mistake (own it!).

So, if you are making New Year’s resolutions, and you plan to add “get in shape," think about getting in good mental shape as well.


Written by:

Adrienne O’Neal

MS, MFT, Co-owner of Red Rock Counseling