Sometimes we stress ourselves out by setting goals that aren’t even ours! It’s hard enough when goals are our choices and we fall short. When they’re not ours, it can be an emotional disaster waiting to happen, depending on just how unrealistic for us they were.
Goal setting is always good! It’s how we move forward in life, even when for some of us, our goal is getting up on time in the morning. That’s huge for someone suffering from depression brought on by life events rather than any clinical cause. We have to push ourselves to get things done, anything. We just take one step at a time, until we can add more and more. Getting started is always the hardest part of any resolution, even harder than the original decision.
Sometimes goals are associated with New Year’s Resolutions but most of those get broken within weeks, if not within minutes. So why even set them? Why not set something realistic, like walking five or six days a week for 10 or 15 minutes each time, or if we’re doing that already, adding another two minutes to it every day? It’s not very helpful to set a big goal doing something we haven’t been doing already. Incremental goals work much better because they seem able to be carried out and we don’t get discouraged so easily.
Other incremental goals might be writing one sentence in a journal every day, especially if it’s a gratitude journal because we all have so much to feel grateful for. I don’t keep a traditional journal per se because if anyone ever read it, they would have a cow. Some of life’s happenings are best not remembered, let alone stashed for other relatives to read.
So we’ve set goals that aren’t crazy – and we still miss them anyway! We wanted to lose a pound each month and only lost 6 lbs. in 8 months. And then Hallowe’en started the candy and cookies and pies season that lasts through Valentine’s Day. Do we give up on our weight loss goal? No, we pick up the pieces of our goal (any goal) and set them again. Maybe we need dietary guidelines from a primary care physician who is actually paying attention to what we’re saying instead of just reading on our chart that a previous doc wrote “situational stress”.
We pick up those pieces and set them again a little farther out. We can still lose 12 lbs in 12 months. It will just be a different 12 months.