It’s the new year and many of us are hopeful that this year our pain won’t get in the way of living a full life. A year where we set goals and see progress. Living with persistent pain often comes with a roller coaster of emotions because every part of our lives are affected, not just our bodies, but also our thoughts, mood, and relationships with the people and world around us. It’s for this reason that the hope and excitement that accompanies setting goals often devolves to frustration, anger, shame, and sadness when we hit the inevitable roadblocks. “Failure” seems like a negative reflection of our personal worth and it may be difficult to see all the factors that are helping or limiting our success.
Change is certainly possible, but it’s not just about hard work. While this is important to helping us grow into the version of ourselves that we want to be, we also need it to balance it with kindness and fairness to ourselves so we don’t give up when we’re at the lows of our roller coaster ride.
Here are 5 questions I encourage you to ask yourself to set yourself up for success:
Choose one of the following 8 areas of your life to start: personal development, relationships & romance, business & career, family & friends, community contribution, health/fitness, spiritual, fun & leisure.
- Do I want to change anything?
For your chosen category, consider if you would like to change anything or leave it alone. Sometimes you don’t want to mess with a good thing!
- What am I doing now?
Think about what you would like to change or what you’re doing to intentionally maintain “the good thing”. Look for patterns in your behavior. Sometimes we may find ourselves choosing the same option repeatedly, whether it’s running away, yelling at others or ourselves, giving up on our goals, etc. Decide if this response to your situation/challenge is helping you get what you want.
- What is my best option?
List your options out or talk them out so the ideas don’t stay stuck in your head where they may be easily dismissed. Choose the option that works the best for you. Remember, the best way to create change is through very small and consistent steps because this is what allows us to change our habits.
- What might get in the way of my success with this goal?
You will inevitably experience setbacks simply because you’re human and change is hard. Having a clear plan and back-up options will help avoid feeling like giving up when there are set-backs. Consider what has gotten in the way in previous attempts, what can you do to prevent the same thing from happening again, and any possible back-up options for days when meeting your goal feels too difficult.
- Who can support me with this?
Find an accountability partner – a family member, friend, therapist, etc. who you can touch base with to encourage you as you face your set-backs and also celebrate your successes.
Repeat these steps for all the 8 categories. Setting goals in all these areas is helpful to preventing burnout and intentionally creating balance in our lives.
If you’re feeling stuck, let us know. While it may seem overwhelming, there may be opportunities for change that you haven’t yet considered.
We can set you up with a 15-minute complimentary consultation with our occupational therapist, Dilini Mohan, to chat about how to get yourself going again.