When you have a chronic illness, finding things to look forward to and work towards are a helpful tool for managing your illness and symptoms. Setting goals that are achievable and measurable can help you and give you something to strive for, as well as a way to measure your progress on things you want to accomplish, no matter how big or small that thing may be.
The thing about working towards goals with a chronic illness is that you must remember to pace yourself. It’s so easy when you’re having a good day to overdo it and take on more than your body is ready to handle. Don’t lose sight of taking care of your own physical needs while you’re working towards your goals.
Keep these 5 tips in mind as you work to accomplish your goals:
- Set small, measurable steps. Break a bigger project down into several smaller tasks that all work towards that bigger goal. You can even set up a schedule similar to a project management method where you set specific dates for each mini-goal to be completed. Just remember to be kind to yourself if you miss a set date due to managing your illness. Goals should stretch us, but they should also be flexible.
- When you’re spending a day working on a specific goal, do a periodic check-in to asses how you’re feeling at different points throughout the task. Stop what you’re doing, grab something to drink, a small snack and just take a break for 5 minutes. While you’re doing this see how you feel and determine if you may need to slow your pace down going forward.
- If you’re working on a large goal that has a longer time frame for completion, a check-in should also be done on a daily basis at the end of the day. Are your expectations for how quickly you can complete this consistent with what you’re able to accomplish each day? How are you physically feeling at the end of the day? Do you need to slow the tasks down to maintain your energy levels
- Make sure you’re getting adequate sleep throughout the course of completing your larger goal. If you do have a bad night, try to take it easy the next day. Work on something that doesn’t require a lot of physical or mental energy.
- Have fun with your goals! Don’t underestimate the value of putting a little bit of joy in your day. It goes a long way towards keeping your healthy and feeling your best.
What are some of your goals that you’re working on now? Share them here, I’d love to hear yours!