Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog Peep Questions: Goals

How important is it to you to set achievable goals? What steps do you take to ensure you don’t lose sight of them?

This is such an interesting question, because setting goals comes in cycles for me… it’s knowing when to set them and when to let them go that has really been a learning process.

Back when leaving the house and doing things was still an option, I was finding myself making plans and constantly having to cancel them for one health reason or another. It didn’t frustrate me so much that I was missing out on something, it frustrated me that I felt like I was unreliable. I was still in the mindset that I could push through and make things happen, but more often than not I was proven wrong. I had to step back and realize that life was different and fighting to maintain standards I was setting for myself was a waste of energy.

When making plans, I started telling people that I would love to join them and had every intention of following through, but there was always a chance I would have to cancel. There were a few times when people were less than happy with me, but I found that when people knew up front and understood the situation, they were rarely disappointed for themselves that I had to cancel. Often they were more disappointed for me because they knew it meant I was ill or in too much pain. People are so kind when you just let them see the truth about your life rather than trying so hard to appear normal.

As things got worse I had to step back again and realize that I needed to be more flexible with myself and my expectations. I used to say that I never knew how I’d feel from one day to the next, but now it’s more like one moment to the next. For the past few months, I honestly didn’t have a single goal other than to get out of bed and make it to the couch each day. I couldn’t promise myself I’d be able to shower or talk on the phone or look at the computer or heat up a meal. I just did what I could when I could. If that meant being awake and watching movies in the middle of the night or catching some sleep in the middle of the day, I just did whatever my body allowed. For someone who always liked their life planned out and organized, that meant letting go of everything and being ok with whatever the day brought.

And I made it through relatively sane. :) [This is where my brother Hoody would have a smart alec comment…]

Now, rather than setting goals that have me trying to do too much, I find myself setting goals in order to pace myself. I’m finally to the point where, most days, I’m awake more than I’m asleep. That immediately makes me start itching to do more things. The problem is, my body hasn’t caught up with my mind yet, so when I get up to do something I usually find myself exhausted within five minutes. I just don’t have much stamina and when I push I find myself in even more pain and fighting migraines. Take blogging for example. This week I decided to try posting three times a week… it gives me a goal, but I don’t feel like I’m diving back in head first before I’m able. A couple years ago I would have been trying to post every day and then would have had to disappear again because I couldn’t keep it up. Now, I’m learning goal setting in moderation.

I also think being afraid of goals can be just as bad as setting ones that are unattainable. Knowing my life takes these turns, I almost didn’t start the process of selling my canvases earlier this year. I was afraid I’d get started and then I’d get sick, being unable to continue. Well, that’s exactly what happened. But here’s the thing… I LOVED making them while I could and wouldn’t trade those months for anything. I also miss it and as soon as I can figure out a set up that makes it physically possible, I’m going to start making them again, selling them and doing our Hump Day Giveaways. Maybe no one will want them anymore, maybe they will, but I’ll make them regardless.

It’s a goal. One that I’ll have to be flexible enough to try when I’m able. Most people look at goals as things to work hard and achieve. I look at them as benchmarks. When I’m able to achieve them, I’m happy I’m doing that well. When I’m unable to achieve them, I’m learning to be patient and figure out what goals are attainable… being grateful for the smallest achievements. Even if it is just getting from the bed to the couch. :)

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