How To Set Goals You Will Achieve When You Have A Chronic Illness
Learn to be flexible and adaptable
Lets be honest, none of us will feel confident proclaiming that 2021 will be the best year ever. If 2020 has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected. To set goals and achieve them adaptability is going to be more important now than ever.
Having multiple chronic illnesses teaches you to be resilient. You never quite know how things will be; if you will wake up with a dislocation, get a migraine attack or even have to sit down in the middle of The Co-op because you are going to pass out. It teaches you flexibility but it also teaches you to grasp life’s opportunities when then come your way.
To think at the beginning of 2019 we had no idea that we would move out of London and by the end of the year we would be living a new life in the country. It had been a dream for us for years and 2019 was the year we made it our reality.
At the beginning of 2020 I had absolutely no plans to become a certified life coach and NLP Master practitioner. The COVID pandemic absolutely gave me the opportunity for that to happen by freeing up the time, taking all training online (meaning no travelling to London or Bristol) and meaning that the kids were safely looked after at home while I qualified from the sanctuary of our home office. I am so thankful that I took the opportunity and stepped out of my comfort zone and into the world of coaching so that I can support people like me with chronic illness.
None of us know what is around the corner for us in the year ahead. To set goals that stick it is important to be flexible and adaptable during these uncertain times.
To set great goals you will need to be clear on the vision for your life?
Even with the unpredictability of the world in which we live right now you can absolutely think ahead with a clear plan about where you want to go. To have a clear vision for your life and set intentions for yourself that fit with what you think and feel. It gives you the motivation to keep moving forward if things get tough and is the force that will fuel your motivation.
I will not be proclaiming intentions for the year ahead that I will have forgotten about in a few weeks time instead I will be looking at my life as a whole, where I am now and where I want to go. Then I will set myself goals that fit with my overarching vision. It’s amazing how motivated you are to achieve your goals when they connect with the overall plan for your life and who you are. I will be doing things every single day that really fit with who I am creating new habits that lead me to the place that I want to be.
If I carry on doing the same things every day that I do now, nothing will change. I need to create new habits and retrain my brain to do things in a different way if I want change to be lasting.
To achieve your goals keep moving forwards even if its baby steps
I’m also a realist. I know that things may change along the way that will be out of my control and I may have to adjust my sails a little. Living with unpredictable chronic illnesses has taught me that my life and my health has a habit of throwing me a curve ball. It’s like my condition enjoys putting me in my place from time to time and showing me who is the boss. If things don’t work out I may have to pause for a while or find another way. I may also find that I may have to learn new things or ask for help to get me to where I need to be.
Whatever this year brings I know that it will be important to keep moving forward, even if it’s baby steps, because if I take one step each day I will be in a very different place by the end of the year.
If your goals are truly connected to who you are and your deep rooted values staying on track when the going gets tough and staying committed to your vision will be so much easier.
When it comes to achieving your goals the devil is in the detail
The key to setting goals that stick is to get specific. Often the people set vague intentions without a plan to get there, to be ‘happier’ or ‘richer’ is just like setting your Sat Nav to ‘somewhere nice’ and the brain doesn’t know what to do with that information.
That’s why after you have carefully considered your overall vision it can be helpful to break your goals down into the different areas of your life so you can get specific. When you drill down on exactly what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and the exact steps you need to take it is like putting the exact destination into your Sat Nav and your brain knows what to do with that information.
Key takeaways to set goals that you will achieve this year, chronic illness or not
Goals have to fit with where you are, who you are and where you want to go in life. To stay 100% committed and on track you have to be really connected to why you have set the goal for yourself in the first place.
You have to understand that action produces results, and if you want results, you must take action. No matter how small, you just have to start.
We all appreciate now that life has a habit of trying to get in the way, but it will be up to you not to use those set backs as an excuse to give up on your hopes and your dreams, see it as a way to learn and do better next time.
The bottom line is incorporating even the smallest goals and making them habits will transform your life in some way. You can pick and choose which best suit your needs but the key to success is consistency. Turning your goals into habits will transform your overall wellbeing in ways you’d never imagined and you’ll feel unstoppable.
Ideas for goals in the different areas of your life to improve your overall well-being
Here are some ideas to set goals in the different areas of your life to get you started.. be specific and connect to why you want to make the change in the first place.
- Decide how much you want to earn in 2021 and work out a plan to make that happen (for example – how many clients/orders/treatments etc that works out at per month)
- Look at your finances work out a plan to save money each month – where can the savings come from? How much can you save?
- Decorate a tired bedroom by the spring
- Move home to a new area
- Get a cleaner
- Improve the light
Career/ Personal Growth
- Read a book a week or 20 pages a day
- Sign up to learn something new
- Start selling something that you make
- Write a book (perhaps break it down to a chapter each month)
- Apply for a promotion
- Enhance your networking skills
- Improve your public speaking skills by signing up to a course or reading a book
- Get 15 minutes of fresh air every day
- Spend 20 minutes outside in nature every day
- Dedicate 10 minutes a day to stretching
- Go for a 15-minute walk before work 5 days per week
- Aim for 10,000 steps 5 days each week
- Engage in moderate intensity physical activities 5 days per week for 30 minutes
- Take a 5-minute walking break every hour during the workday
- Use an activity reminder app to help you sit less at work
- Stand for phone calls
- Walk as you talk
- Prep healthy lunches for the week every Sunday
- Pack a healthy lunch three days per week
- Create a meal plan once per week
- Start your day with a healthy breakfast each day
- Add an extra serving of fruits or vegetables with lunch and dinner
- Eat two servings of dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, romaine, etc., three days each week.
- Avoid added sugars in foods two days each week
- Go vegetarian one day per week
- Pack a healthy lunch for work or school three days each week
- Drink a glass of water before each meal
- Maintain a calendar to help you manage your time
- Develop a morning or evening routine
- Write out and prioritize your tasks each week
- Create a daily meditation routine
- Keep a gratitude journal and write about all of the things that you are grateful for every day
- Go electronics-free three evenings per week
- Get adequate sleep
- Engage in relaxing hobbies such as gardening, reading, dancing, or other fun activities
Fun and Recreation
- Plan a trip to take once we can travel freely again
- Look for a new class to join and dedicate time each week to it
- What do you love to do? music, art, craft? Set aside an hour a week to do something that you love
- Have a regular date night with you partner or games night with the kids
Join The Community
The Thrive Tribe is a safe place for women with long term, chronic illness or disability (or those who are carers of kids with chronic illness). It is a space to be you, to be honest that you want more than this, to be honest about not knowing how to start. A place where we can lift each other up and support each other. Where you can share your story and where we can inspire each other with our wins. It’s about understanding that life can be tough but also that we can do hard things. About recognising your own unique superpowers! To feel like you belong in a community that has your back.
Goal Setting Sessions