Sunday, January 05, 2014
As someone who has dealt with depression for over 20 years, I have learned that I am at my best when I am happily busy. Notice the word "happily." I don't like to have such a crazy, hectic schedule that I want to crawl into a dark hole, but I do seem to feel better when I have an agenda, have a routine, and have some goals set for myself. Now I have certainly taken this goal-making to the extreme. I have set goals that were WAY too lofty, and/or too many of them, and of course couldn't make it to the finish line. Then I got frustrated and even MORE depressed, because I "hadn't met my goal."
Backing up a bit... About three years ago, I was working at this facility that helped disadvantaged and disabled people become prepared for the workforce, and then actually find a job and go out into the workforce. I was a "job coach," for lack of a better phrase. A lot of these people didn't even have the common sense that you need to take a shower every day and brush your hair, and that people won't even consider you for a position if you stink and look like crap. So, we'd teach them about this kind of thing. I had over 30 clients when I left and that number grew every day. I had access to all of their personal files, doctors observations, etc, etc. I would read through all of this information so that I could understand the person as well as I possibly could, in addition to spending time with the person, of course. I actually learned a LOT in this job, about mental illness in particular. I was reading one of my client's files once, and she too suffered from depression. The doctor (or psychiatrist or whomever) had put in a report that at the time, an objective for that individual was to set small, attainable goals. In fact, the doctor went on to say that it is very common for people with depression to set goals that are very unrealistic, only to spiral into an even deeper depression later when they discover they just can't make that goal. That was an "Aha! Moment" for me FOR SURE. I totally do that. I went on to read that what the person should do, ideally, is make small, attainable goals to begin with, ones that can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time, and with minimal effort. Gradually, the person increases the goal to something that will take longer and be more difficult to attain. I was thrilled to learn this bit of information. I especially liked it because it was about a condition that I suffer from as well, and that the plan of action was written by an actual doctor -- it wasn't something I'd read on the Internet by some random blogger. I've implemented it only a few times, and you know what? It works. l was so glad to have read the information that day, and it has really stuck with me. So... I've been thinking about it and remembering learning it... and I have decided to really put it to good use in my own life.
I've decided to set monthly goals for myself. Various things that need to be done, and things that I want to do. I haven't even made an actual list yet, but I've just been thinking about what I want to put on it. I'm already feeling accomplished, and I haven't even started doing anything yet. For instance, I really enjoy refinishing old furniture, and I have a few pieces left in my home to refinish. I want to make those goals. I have a piece of jewelry I have been wanting to buy, so I'll make that a goal (it's a new wedding band from Tiffany's, so I REALLY want to reach that goal! Heehee!) There are household projects that need to be done; past projects that need just a little more work to be completed, organizational projects, various things around the house need sprucing up. There are things I want to save money for (like the Tiffany ring!), and I also want to set some personal goals for myself, that pertain to my health and wellness and well-being. I had the thought that a five pound monthly weight loss goal was doable, reasonable, and then it dawned on me that five pounds each month would lead to a SIXTY pound loss over the course of the year. That wouldn't quite put me to my goal, but you know what? I didn't even CARE. I would be thrilled to be sixty pounds lighter by the end of the year. That would put me at a weight I haven't been in 10 years, so I would be ecstatic!
So that's just what I'm thinking about doing...setting some reasonable goals that I can spend a whole month working on. I was thinking that for the month of January, I will set a goal to get my pantry/laundry room cleaned and organized, and of course I will also set the goal of losing five pounds this month as well.
I'll spend some time over the next few days thinking about what my other goals should be. I will share them on my blog once I've decided.