Monday 29 June 2020

Spoonie Writer: Goals That Work For You


I decided that since I was reviewing the yearly goals I set myself last week (found here) then I should also talk about how, as a spoonie, I try to set goals that work for me. It can be daunting to look at everyone else making lots and lots of lofty goals and then looking at what you've achieved and feeling like you don't belong. Or even just not knowing how much you can get done in any one period because of your conditions. They can be tricky, they can make it seem like you're not doing enough, but actually you're in the midst of a flare and there's nothing you can do about it but keep going.

I know that to most people looking at my social media, my "highlight reel" they might think that I don't find it hard to meet my goals, or that I don't struggle some days to get the work done, and that's simply not true. Like right now, I'm writing the coming months blog posts, while having a flare, and have been putting stuff off until the final day of the month thinking I would be able to manage it, and to be honest, I'm not. I've been struggling to stay sitting at my desk, and so have been doing a lot of my days work in bed, on my iPad. It works for me, I get what I can done, and then I move onto things that will help relax me, and deal with the flare.

So how do I know what goals work for me? I have the experience of having been doing this for a long time, but also because I already know my limits, and that's what I'm gonna focus on today because I know how lucky I am to be in a position where I do know my limits and also have the time to take extra breaks if I need to because writing is basically my job. Today I'm gonna talk about finding those limits, and making sure your goals aren't gonna push you to breaking point.

A lot of the time people assume that because you have x condition and they have a friend with the same thing, then you'll both experience the condition the same way, and it's just not true. Part of getting to know your limits, if a lot of trying things, and seeing what's too much and what's okay. There's no such thing as too little, you know I fully believe that it takes as long as it takes and that's okay.#

So take this first step and remember that this isn't about pushing yourself into payback and a flare, this is about working out what you can safely do on a good day, a bad one, and all the others in the middle when it's just kinda okay but not.

When I first started using sticky notes to plan my time, I already knew that at a push I could do two things on a bad day, so I only ever set myself one thing a day. This was so that even if it was a bad day, I could at least manage one small thing. I also made sure that I had lots of days off so that if I did too much, or my conditions flared, I didn't lose the progress I'd made. Once you know where your limits are, then you can work out just how much is doable on the worst day, so long as you're able to actually work on those days. I'm not gonna shame anyone who doesn't, just because I can, doesn't mean everyone else can.

But starting small with your goals allows you to get a little done, and know that you're on the right path, so that when you choose to set goals long term, you have some idea of what's manageable and what isn't. And again, I can't be more clear that you will need days off. Even if the little thing isn't taxing, you still need time to recharge and relax. That is not optional!

I say it like this because people are different. I personally know that if I set goals so high that I'd have to push myself into a flare to achieve them, I would do it, because if I set a goal, I want to reach it. So I don't aim too high, but rather stick to just above what I could normally manage and then some months, weeks, etc I don't hit them, and that's okay.

Other people like to push themselves, feeling that if they aim too low that it's not really a goal. I don't agree that it's not a goal, but if you're that kind of person, go and aim for whatever your comfort level is. At the end of the day, you know yourself, and your conditions best and I'm not you.

So those are my three steps for goals that work for me, I wish you all the best of luck with your goal setting, and if you have any questions or want to add to the piece, then please do comment! 

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