Previously I wrote a post about multi-tasking and how this escalates into something damaging.
The more we try to achieve, the more we hurt ourselves.
As I’m doing all these things at the same time, my anxiety escalates. When I don’t complete the things I set out to do, I fall into a state of depression.
How is this helpful to anyone?
I’m not saying that I can no longer set goals, or have ambitions; I’m just saying that I need to prioritize and focus on the tasks I wish to complete.
For example, I have set myself yearly goals:
- lose 30lbs
- pay off one credit card
- purge and clean the house top to bottom
- and sell or bin the stuff we no longer want or use.
From there, I have to break down each goal into monthly goals.
How many pounds can I lose this month, that’s both realistic and achievable, but also will help me meet my goal by the end of the year?
Sure, 2lbs a month might be achievable but it won’t help me reach my goal. Five is a better number here, but I’d like to go for eight.
This allows time for plateauing. It also allows me to start strong, and then maintain. Maintenance can be hard also, but fortunately that’s not my goal this month.
I don’t even need to think about that.
How much money do I need to put down on the credit card this month to get closer to my goal? Where will I get that money? How will I spend less?
These are all questions I ask myself, and then write down a plan in my “Living Well, Spending Less” (affiliate link) planner, which is great by the way!
Cleaning and purging the house has been a hard task for quite a few years.
It’s a big/modest house, and when looking at it as a whole, it’s daunting and overwhelming so we just don’t.
In order to meet my goals, this has to change. My husband and I sat down and said we’re going to plan to do one room a month.
Since February was a short month, we picked a smaller room. I then basically moved every thing from the room into the basement.
Now our front room looks great, but our basement is cluttered.
Breathe. That’s ok.
I’m still feeling overwhelmed, but I just keep saying, “Breathe. It will be ok.”
The Importance of Manageable Goals
The basement is next on our list. For the month of March, we’ll be cleaning the basement and this is our opportunity to purge and sell.
It’s a big job, but I’m excited about what it will look like at the end. I’ll keep you posted.
See how my big goals don’t seem so daunting anymore? I break them down into monthly goals.
After that I break them down into weekly goals. How much weight do I need to lose this week? Two pounds. Easy.
Finally, I write down my daily goals. Each day I have to write a list of tasks I need to do, followed by what I want to do.
My needs include: writing a blog post, going to work, taking the kids to their extra-curriculars, drinking 3L of water, getting 10,000 steps in, following the meal plan I lined out for the week, and having quality time with the family.
My wants include: reading, doing a craft, and/or watching a movie.
I have more time for my ‘want’ list when it’s the weekend because 8 hours of my day are not spent at work.
The only parts of my ‘need’ list that overlap are drinking 3L of water and getting 10,000 steps.
I’m allowed to work towards those things while doing any of the other items on the list.
When I break out my daily tasks into needs and wants, I see that it’s ok to not do everything today. It’s ok if the whole day goes by and I don’t get to any of my wants.
I don’t have to do these things.
My anxiety has been far more manageable because of these lists. And since I’m reaching my goals, little by little, my depression has been manageable also.
What happens when you have a list of things that’s so long you can’t get to it all?
This is a sad part of life. It happens to us all, and it happens regularly.
Work runs late. Kids take an extra 20 minutes getting changed from their sport/event. Headache. Tired. Sick.
There could be any number of reasons not to finish your checklist. Some days it could be so bad that you don’t even get to complete one item on the list.
Accept it. Move on. Get over it.
I am saying the things we hear all the time. This doesn’t help. I know. We can’t get over it. It’s hard to accept. We failed.
It’s not easy to accept that today we just couldn’t do the things we set out to do. It couldn’t be done. I couldn’t get out of bed this morning; therefore, I will not meet any of my daily goals.
I can tell myself that tomorrow will be better, but sometimes that doesn’t work either. What works for me is telling myself that I need the rest.
Accepting Failure to Fight Depression and Anxiety
Whether I’m sick or not, my body has decided for me that I need to heal.
When this happens, I make that the only thing on my list.
Today I will rest. I need to sleep. I want to heal.
By changing my list from all the ‘things’ that need to get done, to this one simple task. I will happily meet my goal and not feel like a failure.
At the end of the day, it really is fine if we don’t meet all our goals. Maybe I didn’t get to have as much family time as I would have liked, but I did get to play checkers with my son and read to my daughter.
Maybe I didn’t drink all my 3L of water, but I did drink 2.5L.
Maybe I didn’t get all 10,000 steps, but I did get 7,000 on the treadmill.
I have goals that I want to meet each day, but I can accept when I don’t because I choose to focus on the things I accomplished.
We have to work towards changing our mindset, no matter how hard this is.
I get depressed when I focus on the things I couldn’t do. Part of being depressed is that feeling is hardwired into us. That’s how our brains work.
It takes extra effort for me to focus on my accomplishments instead of my failures. I have to trick my brain into doing the opposite of what it wants to do naturally.
There are days when I can’t fool it. Those are the days I lie in bed.
It’s ok to feel this way. That’s what I have to tell myself. I’m allowed to feel this way.
That’s how I cope.
My advice to those who suffer from depression is this: focus on the things that you accomplished. When you can’t, don’t be too hard on yourself.
You need time to heal.