Set Goals for 2014…Not Resolutions.
Another year is coming to an end and as I normally do, I am looking back to view the last year and I realize just how far we have come. Looking back also brought the realization that there are some things that we just have to accept are not going to change. This means that we especially need to quit setting ourselves up for a failure by saying “this year it is going to be different” when the past four years or whatever have not been. And once you accept, then you move on to living with a situation as it is. I have learned that setting goals makes me feel accomplished even if I only make half of my goal. I know I have made progress and I can make the next goal to finish what I started.
One of the things my son and I do out of curiosity is count the number of times I have had doctor visits and hospital visits. Each year for the past four or five years, I have ended the year saying “This coming year is going to be different”. And the year has always been different but not in the area I was talking about. When you are chronically ill/disabled, going through treatment, etc, you expect to visit the doctor a lot but what is a pattern for several years confirmed to me that I needed to get off the “this year will be different” mantra in respects to doctor and hospital visits as each year was no different. Once again, there were around 60 doctor/specialist visits and 15 trips to the hospital for things ranging from ER visits to Radio Frequency Ablation to my spine, to tests, Scans, MRI’s, etc.. And while I tease the doctors and people at the hospital and tell them that we have to quit meeting this way, I have finally accepted that this is my norm and so when it happens I will no longer be upset or surprised. That is not giving up. It is accepting the reality that this is not going to do a lot of changing as my health is in the state it is in.
I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions and the reasons for that is that most of the time people’s resolutions are not realistic: they expect to accomplish them in six weeks and in reality, they last about three weeks if that long. Usually it is things like “I am going to exercise for an hour a day every day” and they might really do it the first week or so. And then days start getting missed until the person gets tired and quits all together. Or ” I am going to lose sixty pounds” and they crash diet until they can not do it anymore and then quit.
I believe in setting goals for your year because goals are something that are on going and something you do with reasonable expectations. There is no failure to goals as long as you work on them and try to accomplish them for you can always continue a slow going goal into the next year. I set goals about my health and the goals are things like finding a way to exercise some which is not an easy task for someone who is mostly hospital bed bound and is in a power chair. But, with stretchy bands and a creative son, we hope to set up his weight bench in the living room. We do not use the living room much anyway. And if he positions it right, I could back my power chair up to the over head bar and do the pull downs to strengthen my arms….even if I only use the bar as the weight. I could lay back in my power chair and pull the bar down that way or take my hands down to my side with the bar. This is a goal to work on. I already do stretchy bands lying in my hospital bed from last years goal, so I have added to my goal this year. If you do not use it, you will lose it. And if you lose it because of not using it, that does not mean you are sicker and weaker. It simply means you laid around too much. So, I use it. That is a goal.
I make personal goals about such things as keeping my boundaries set and creating new boundaries if I need to. For example, I pull away from people who are constantly negative because that just pulls me down and I am fighting a battle anyway. We all complain at times but when it is all the time, it is like being put into a dark dungeon for me. So my boundary for that is to back off if it becomes too much negativity. This boundary is important because everyone, especially the chronically ill/disabled can become drained and too stressed if we do not keep a boundary in place.And so my goal is to not get drawn into negative things. When I do get drawn into drama or high stress, that is a choice I am making. And my goal is to keep my serenity space around me for that is the only way healing can take place. A few years back, creating serenity in our house was a goal and today, everyone and I seriously mean “everyone” that walks through our door tells us how they LOVE our home as it is so serene and the energy level feels so good. That is a great compliment and I explain that we worked hard to create a serene sanctuary so that there was less stress in the house. I used to help people fix their houses that way with things that absorb noise, off set lighting so the glare does not trigger nerves, devices to keep the noise level down, etc.
Another area I make goals on is personal accomplishments. I have to keep working and doing even if I am laying flat on my back and typing on a pillow on my stomach. It keeps my brain alive and gives me purpose. A lot of depression comes from just lying around in your home drowning in the gloom and doom of your situation. I know because I have done that. Being active mentally and physically as much as you can will help keep that at bay. This blog is a goal and sometimes I miss days because I am too sick to write but I try every day to write a blog. My goal is to inspire, motivate and lift others up to be the best they can be. My son is working on four books now and has asked me to help him format them: something I do well. So, another goal is to help son get those books done. I personally want to get family history books out and on Amazon with pictures and stories and letters and family trees in them; another personal goal. If you do not use it, you will lose it and that includes your brain.
And I have a new goal item that I started last year and hope to continue this year. It is called “Helping Others Reach Their Dreams”. When you get older than dirt (giggling) and are chronically ill/disabled, you start to realize that many things we desire when we are younger…fancy homes, fancy cars, fancy clothes, travel, etc…are not so important anymore. I have a couple on my bucket list that I still want to accomplish…the used mini bus or commercial passenger van with a wheelchair lift is one. The other is to return to Italy one last time. I may never get either one but I can dream. But I also dream for others. I dream for you all and if I see a way I can help like promoting a blog, or promoting someone’s book or looking for ways to help someone get what they need, then I do it laying right here in this bed. Believe me when I say…dreaming for someone else brings you great joy.
And my last section is what I call the “Helping those In Need”section. I have done this goal for many, many years. At one time when I was physically more able and we had more room, I had a clothes closet in one of my bedrooms and people would give me clothes and I would mend, wash them and then I would find a way to give the clothes to those in need. We also collected “working” clothes for those trying to find a job but did not have the right type of clothes. We have always collected food to give to others year round. Did you know that if you put just ONE can of food a week in a box, you would have 52 cans of food at the end of the year to give to someone who is in need come next Christmas. If you put one can a day…every day pick one can of soup or vegetables or canned meats…you would have 365 cans to use for a food bank to help several people without straining yourself. And if you continue it all the time, you keep your supply going and can help people all year-long. The greatest joy this Christmas was watching my son discreetly give boxes to some Church members having a hard time. They grabbed him and hugged him and even cried and my son had pure joy on his face. So, I want to add a new program in our helping others, maybe a school supply collection or a coat donation or something. We may only help a very few people but Mother Teresa says…if you just help one…you have done something.
So, try setting goals this year and see how that goes. Set health goals, school goals, financial goals, personal goals, boundary goals, helping mankind goals, or whatever ones you want. I think you will find that it is an amazing experience and not feel like we used to feel when we set resolutions that ended in six weeks. Goals go on and on and on and they grow and expand and sometimes they even become businesses or best-selling books or whatever. Goals are like dreams…the sky is the limit.
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