How Caregivers Can Practice Self-Care by Setting Goals

Take the necessary steps needed to advance your life and fuel your ambition. With goal setting you’ll be able to gain a better focus, defeat procrastination, and measure your progress.

Goal Setting and the Art of Taking Stock

More often than not, when you care for a family member struggling with depression, anxiety , or other debilitating mental health concerns, goal setting can seem selfish.

Once a year as part of my own process of goal setting, I write down all the things I’ve accomplished and compare it to my list from last year.  Yes, I admit, there are more things I did not get around to! Nevertheless, the process of writing things down allows me to feel good about achievements and to set my intentions for the upcoming year.  According to Tony Robbins, author, speaker, and inspiration to millions, the simple act of writing this list dramatically increases my chances of actually achieving my goals!

How Fear Gets in the Way of Goal Setting and Personal Growth

My own experience is that many times individuals who deal with mental illness or chronic medical issues in the family get stuck and stop evolving because of their situation. We can become so focused on the mundane and the other person’s situation that we forget our own life.  I have felt this fear of moving on and knowing that my family member will always be where he is. It is helpful to remember that my goals are important to me and that he does the best he can, and that’s okay for him and me.

Moving Beyond the Fear

What are we to do with this fear and why am I writing about it? Because such thoughts and feelings keep us stuck — and soon our life will simply pass with no real personal growth.  We ought to live in order to thrive, but too often we live simply to survive.

What are your goals, old or new, that have been waiting? Maybe you wanted to train for a road race? Become a kayak expert, or learn to cross-stitch? Resolve to unpack those old, or new goals, dust them off and make a plan!

Susan Jeffers is an author who writes beautifully about the subject of “fear.” In her book “Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway, she reminds us that the “doing” often comes before the “feeling better.”

The truth is everyone experiences fear and it is not something that goes away. Yes, things get easier over time (sometimes). But there will always be an element of fear when we are pushing ourselves to do better, to grow and evolve as a person. Jeffers reminds us that if we have faith in ourselves to handle whatever comes up, we can diminish and work through that fear. What a wonderful reminder to take risks and have the self-confidence that we can handle it!

Evolving and growing while your family member deals with emotional issues is difficult to be sure. But dealing with and managing fear is part of life in general. Jeffers reminds us that we must take risks in order to expand self-worth and live a full life. So take a minute right now and ask yourself: “How can I get outside my comfort zone today?” Maybe you can find someone who intimidates you or begin investigating a new career. These actions will bolster your self-confidence which in turn can do wonders for your wellness in the face of difficult family circumstances.

At Chaos to Calm Counseling, we work with couples and individuals to facilitate healthy relationships for the betterment of families and society at large. Learn more about our team, schedule a free consult, or call us at (978) 241-2881.