The Art of Setting Goals, While Managing Your Mental Illness
When you are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar disorder, really any mental illness; getting anything done can become an arduous task. Your motivation deteriorates, your energy levels are minimal, and your mind sinks into a shadowy abyss. Trying to set any plans, or make any goals turns into torture. As the only real thing you can focus on is survival. You start to stagnate and get stuck where you are and become comfortable with your surroundings. However, the meaning of life is progress. When you are in a funk of mental illness, funk is putting it lightly I know, progress is seemingly impossible. However, progress is essential to helping maintain or improve your mental illness. The following are just a few pointers on setting goals, following through with a plan, and achieving those goals.
Aim for the Moon
Setting your goals can be frightening, doubly so if you’re in a current low point with your mental illness. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you, it will always be frightening. The “movers and shakers” of the world know this well, but they are naturally equipped to better combat this fear. Truth be told, I think that some even enjoy the fear, they seek it out. In our case, we were equipped with a malfunctioning brain, a fear of things that doesn’t quite make sense, and a knack for holding onto regret exceptionally well. This certainly does not make it easy for us to go after what we truly desire. The fear of falling short of our goals is usually what keeps us even thinking about the goal we want to achieve. Getting over this fear is the first thing that needs to happen to start making the progress toward your goals. You’ll often hear people tell you to set small achievable goals, that this makes it easier to track your progress and set yourself up for larger goals. My recommendation is the exact opposite, meaning set the largest goals that you can muster. I’m a devoted believer in “shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars”. To me, this means that you set your large goal, and even if you don’t achieve it (you have your whole life by the way” you’ll still land in a beautiful place where you can complete goals that your didn’t even know you set.
The Best Laid Plans
There are many sayings about planning, however, I prefer the ones about plans going up in smoke. “Man plans, God laughs” is one of my absolute favorites, even though I am not religious, i still think that this illustrates the pointlessness of planning. Hey, if you are a planner, then plan away. But, if you’re anything like me, than you over-plan. You set each excruciating detail, and any deviation sends you into a mire of anxiety. There are somethings that require planning, and you will never truly be able to live life without making plans. Yet, when it comes to your goals, planning might be exactly what keeps you from achieving them. Just go with the flow and eventually, with a little bit of steering, you’ll end up exactly where you need to be.
Keeping a Positive Ratio
There is a saying that goes, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take” and this is completely true. It means that if you don’t try anything, then you won’t fail, easy right? Wrong. As i’ve mentioned in a previous post (I’ll put the link at the bottom of the page) failure is an essential key to success. However, the additional part that is needed here, is that you need to keep your failure/success rate positive. The real only way to do this is the shotgun method. The shotgun method, which I’ve probably just made up, is throwing as much as you can at your goals, and something will hit the target. Trying as much as you can, succeeding or not, just keep trying and eventually one of the successes will be your actual goal.
All in all, struggling through your mental illness is not easy, never will be. The best you can do is keep your head up, and continue pushing forward no matter what. As long as your situation is constantly changing, evolving and advancing, you can keep trying to put the worst of your illness behind you.
As always, if you have any additions of your own, lets help each other out. Leave your revision in the comment below so that we all can benefit from better advice.
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