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Empowering Capability for Mental Wellness

By: Spencer Nageleison, MA, RP (Qualifying)


When you feel capable you are more likely to make healthy behaviour decisions. This statement seems simple enough to understand, however we often fall short when we set goals that are unattainably large, when we experience feelings of failure or inadequacy, or when goals lack specificity. Having the belief that you are capable of change is required for initiating this process. To develop this belief and to perceive being capable of achieving change it requires that your self-efficacy is high. What this means is if you have a strong belief that you have overall competence in coping with a broad range of stressful or challenging demands it is more likely that you will succeed in engaging in your personal growth goals.


Setting smaller goals and sticking to them with consistent effort allows you begin to feel more capable and become more able to achieve your ultimate goals. The setting of these goals is used to energize and create a sense of urgency. Therefore, the goals need to be difficult and specific for them to enhance performance. However, the goals you set must be attainable following the principles: Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). Once a goal has been set, it is necessary to rely on your internal self-regulatory mechanisms to directly and indirectly promote goal attainment. Importantly, personal-growth goals must still be challenging and specific to achieve the outcomes sought. The goals should be self-chosen and self-directed interventions over healthful ‘advice’ forced upon us.


The major benefit of psychotherapy is the therapeutic alliance, a collaborative relationship in which you set personal growth goals and receive regular feedback. This process is tailored to the specific needs of the individuals. It is the success of completing self-set goals that motivates and gives individuals confidence in their ability to complete subsequent goals. The setting of personal growth goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable is supported by the literature as a means of increasing self-efficacy and attaining client-led, goal-related changes.


Achieving success is predicated upon self-knowledge of your interests, values, strengths and understanding what drives you. The combination of these factors are the blueprint for building self-efficacy. It is important to engage in regular reflection activities to achieve these goals and generate motivation towards these goals. If you need any help in building your self-awareness, self-reflection, or developing goals for change feel free to reach out.


In the words of Brené Brown, “faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” So, let us take that first step, that leap of faith towards mental wellness together.


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