It’s slippery, skittish, and speedy – chronic illness can lie relatively quiet for a time and then pounce on you from seemingly nowhere. One day, one moment, you might be forging ahead on steps toward a goal: Tapering medication, finishing rehab, returning to work, or getting back into your social activities. Then, Wham! Illness moves the goal out of reach. Again!
Or, perhaps you do not have an illness or pain that makes firm goals tough to achieve. Perhaps you have people in your life that are always interrupting your progress, or a boss who moves the “goalpost.” Or, perhaps your life is so busy with other responsibilities that you simply do not have the time to see your way clear to that cherished goal so you set another and another, until you have myriad goals but no way to accomplish even one of them.
How can you set goals when they keep moving? How can you see one thing through, beginning to middle to end?
Over the past few years, I’ve found a few things that have helped me. Oh, goals still get sidelined or changed. But these are strong helps, even when emergencies arise:
o Keep a journal. On the days when you can make progress, make it. Write down what you’ve done. If you’re interrupted for any reason, revisit your notes as soon as you can so you can pick up where you left off.
o Set a strong foundation. If you cannot accomplish smaller tasks, you will have trouble sticking with an over-arching goal. Look upon the “smaller stuff” as the material with which you set a strong foundation of achievement that will support you in your bigger efforts.
o Do not look upon setbacks as failures. Rather, they are opportunities to reset your priorities and, when you can, mile-markers on the way back to the goal journey. Jot down lessons learned in your journal and take the lessons to heart.
o Learn your tolerance for flexibility and learn to use the time-honored word “No” as you need it. If we’re all things to all people, we won’t be able to do what we, as individuals, need to accomplish. If you’re foundering at sea, if your life is so full of things that take you off course that you’re frustrated and lost, call a personal “time out.” Breathe. Pray. And regroup your resources so that you can move ahead as God wants you to.
Blessings for the day,