For years I thought that goals were beyond me. Friends and family on social media were constantly posting their #lifegoals #relationshipgoals #financialgoals and I was held captive by my life-long battle with mental illness.
For me, the idea of a goal beyond mere existence was privileged and unattainable. Nutritious food and meal planning required forethought and energy—neither of which I had, as evidenced by a year without activity on the blog.
How did I over come the shame, guilt, envy, and self-loathing that popped up every time I saw a photo of smiling friends hitting another milestone? Crushing another goal? Or getting promoted at work?
I had no job, no money for mental health care, no access to affordable or free treatment and I was running out of reasons to keep going.
I shifted my focus to from what I thought my goals should be to what was within my ability to control.
Step one: to making and achieving goals when you’re in the emotional and mental pit of despair—get out of bed every day before noon for a month.
If this seems silly or simple to you, congratulations on not having debilitating mental illness that prevents you from functioning as a human being—please keep reading in case what you learn might apply to other people in your life.
Step two: now that you’ve gotten out of bed every day for a month, it’s time to add basic self-care back in the mix. Eat within 2 hours of getting up.
Step three: shower at least 3 times a week. It’s fine if you just change into a clean pair of pyjamas. Give yourself some credit. A few months ago you weren’t even able to be up and about.
I continued on like this, adding a new achievable goal to basic skills I had remastered for a year. Then I was ready to try something larger.
I knew the connection between nutrition & exercise and mental health. I had been on medication for about 6 months to help manage the overwhelm of symptoms. With the Pandemic in full swing, I was at danger of relapsing back to sleeping all day and forgetting to eat.
I added “work out for 20 to 30 minutes 5 days a week”. I started with Beachbody’s Youv2 program. Which featured an entire cast of people with bodies like mine. There was no equipment. There was no diet talk. There wasn’t even a real nutrition plan—which made it easier to accomplish.
After a couple of weeks, my body started to like the movement, and I decided to add to my goal. I started portion control and 21 day fix. Since then, I’ve added small measurable goals every week. Some of them are as small as declutter the dresser. Some are more complex like, post on the blog 4 times a week.
It all started just over a year ago with “get out of bed before noon everyday.” Is there a goal I can help you with?