Goals After Chronic IllnessI know a lot of people post their goals at the beginning of the month, but I do things on my own time table. It's part of accepting my limitations with chronic illness. For years, I thought because I couldn't "get things done on time," there was no point in trying to set goals for my life. I had to leave my dream job, drop out of grad school, move to a strange city, and gradually lose more and more ability to care for myself. I've always been goal-oriented, so losing the ability to reach even self-imposed goals has been heartbreaking.
Honestly, I never quite saw the point of posting monthly goals, other than accountability. I thought, hey, I could just write these down in private. No one would know that I can't reach them...Then I thought, oh, wait. I'm a person, too. Just like I need hobbies. I need goals.
Current Attitude:Recently, though, I started thinking about my own goal-oriented-ness. I know that I can't do everything that I want to do at once, so I made a list of HUGE, broad goals. Ones that could take years and years to accomplish. I wrote down the ways that I would measure if I accomplished them, so writing them down was helpful. I will probably start being one of those monthly goal people, but mine's a running list! I promise that future posts will be shorter and more concise. Now, I am keeping that really long running list of small goals for along the way. Much like the way that a runner who wants to run a marathon sets small goals along the way, I think of new things that will eventually get me to where I want to go. As I make tiny bits of progress, I add a new daily/weekly/monthly goal. I just have to accept that I won't achieve everything all of the time, but there is something powerful about writing it down and at least thinking about taking control over my life, since I don't always have control over my body. I have the kind of goals that take some energy, but some that can still be accomplished as long as I'm not totally screaming in pain. I really enjoyed reading people's goals this month for some reason. Maybe it is because I have a little bit more motivation than I had in the past? Because I'm writing my own goals down in my binder? I even got some good ideas for goals! It was fun to celebrate with my favorite bloggers when they accomplished their goals or even to offer a bit advice or encouragement. Because, honestly, I always skimmed through blogs on the first day of the month (too many goal posts). Maybe now that I have goals again, I won't feel an unconscious resentment. Some of my goals are meaningless unless you understand my physical conditions, but I thought that I would share a few things that I'm going to try to work towards during the next few months. I'm not naive enough to think that I can accomplish anything in a single month. Most of these are long-term. Some are like "do this once a month," or things like that might just get done once. Others are super obvious goals that other people do without thinking twice, but once I got sick, I stopped doing them.
Aside from creating a little accountability, I hope maybe my tiny goals will inspire other people who have felt like they can't accomplish goals anymore.A few timely posts from a blog that I love came to my attention after I started working on my own goals. Life in Slow Motion talks about reframing your setbacks and how to symptoms to prevent flares. Personally, I use a mix of apps and paper to track.
Starting at Home
- Purposeful reading > Read a memoir each month > Read a literary theory book each month > Read a book towards a reading challenge each month > Read a book about writing (this may take longer than a month) > Read at least part of an anthology of anything
- Organization > Keep my goal list running and add as possible > Organize emails for immediate response, respond as soon as possible, and answer when my health allows me to write the best response > Track my goals and schedule, as my health allows! (I found some printables on Pinterest that work well for me)
- Blogging > Since blogging is one of my few current hobbies, I set a few goals for it. > Keep a running list of ideas. > Try to write when I feel well, so I will have a surplus of posts to publish when I don't feel well.
- Life > Plan one activity with Brian per weekend where we put away all technology at the house or leave the house, if possible. > Treat myself to a favorite TV show or two every few days. > Keep a "get ready/go to bed" list taped to the bathroom mirror. >>>That's how bad things can get when you're sick. You need a list to remind you how to take care of yourself.