I have been meaning to write my post for January for some time now, so please excuse the delay; as we’re already at the end of February! My focus for this blog post, as we are now well into the New Year, is resolutions and goal setting. First, let’s rewind a bit so I can wish everyone a Happy 2012! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. Now, onwards to my thoughts for the New Year!
I am not one to set New Year’s Resolutions, and if you are I commend you, especially if you end up following them! I do however like to set goals, and do my best to work towards them, without beating myself up if I don’t achieve them. When I was first out of the hospital last year my physiotherapist expressed how important it is to write down goals, and try to work away at them. I must admit that during that time my only goal, or more so hope, was to be able to walk and have my pain stop. I did not know how to achieve that at the time, and though I am used to setting goals, I was very overwhelmed by the new hurdle I had to overcome.
This was exacerbated by the fact that thinking coherently and goal setting was seemingly much harder than it had ever been before. Brain fog often gets the best of us living with MS; and I can say that my memory, writing, and follow through skills were not at their best when I was in relapse mode. However, I didn’t want to give up, even though I was extremely frustrated.
Regardless of living with MS I know many friends that feel lost in life. Don’t we all from time to time? Friends would often try and commiserate with me during these times, trying to make me feel better about the struggles I was faced with, letting me know that they too had problems. While this was appreciated, I feel that – due to their subjective nature – cognitive challenges are so much more of a struggle than people realize.
With this in mind, I worked through various methods to give myself daily motivation and outline my weeks to help feel a sense of accomplishment (gotta love checking things off a list!). I even added a whiteboard to my bathroom to write notes and inspirational quotes. I figured that I frequented the washroom enough that it was a great place to have a reminder that life wasn’t all that bad.
The list of ‘things to do’ lived on the fridge, another place I visit often : ) You get hungry, need a snack and you can re-visit your weekly/daily/monthly list of things to do, food for fodder!
My friend even bought me a huge calendar where I put down doctor’s appointments and other things I had to get done in the month. The best part about that is she bought me a big stack of stickers to give myself gold stars and smiley faces galore! I am a very visual and creative thinker so this was great. Some people even make vision boards, which I think is super cool and would be fun to do!
What I am trying to illustrate to you is that sometimes it takes several methods to sort out your madness; and regardless of how you go about it, setting goals and writing things down really does help, especially when your cog fog rolls in so thick you can barely remember your phone number. Don’t give up trying, that is key. I took a break from things, as it does get hard, but my notes were always there for me to reflect on.
I found this great article on goal setting that I think you should check out:
It really helps you think about how to start setting goals and working towards them. The MS MonSter is always going to be part of my life, and I know I have to work hard to try and manage not only the medical side of the illness, but also the social and emotional side of things. So far all my chicken scratch notes and lists, as scattered as they may sound, seem to be helping : )
I hope that you check out that link and get some good ideas for setting some goals for 2012!
Happiness and Health to all in 2012,
PS: I would love to hear about your ways of goal setting, Please feel free to share : )