Setting Small Goals


I woke up this morning and everything seemed impossible, hopeless, sad. I’ve been sick the past two days, wanting to go out with friends, wishing I were outside, waiting for everything to be different than the way it is now. I miss having the energy to wake up and go for a run, being able to order a latte without upsetting my stomach, feeling alert, valuable, active.

I have very little energy. I’m hungry all the time, but my stomach problems have gotten so bad I’ve given up eating. I drink sugar-free vegan protein shakes instead. Yum. I’m bored and lonely, and I’m alone with my pain too much. Today, all of the bad in my life seems a lot more prominent than the good. All of the negative thoughts keep rushing to my head. I thought, there has to be something I can do to make this better. I can’t just sit here and hate myself and my situation anymore. There’s only so much crying we can do before we realize it doesn’t change the situation that’s making us cry. So I got up. I felt dizzy and depressed and nauseated, but I could still stand. Then, I went for a walk. The walk was short, and I still felt sick, but it felt good to be outside–see other people, hear the wind. I saw some kids I knew from the camp I work with. They were excited to see me, and said they missed me when I was sick. That made me feel A LOT better– it let me know I was making a difference, I meant something to the kids I spend time with at work. Even while sick and very restricted, I can still find ways to be helpful and valuable. Then I went home again, drank some water and a protein shake. That helped me feel a little stronger. None of these things cured me. They just helped, a little. When we set small goals, they’re a lot more easily attained than large ones, and they bring us a lot closer to our ultimate goals than anger and tears will. I didn’t climb Mount Rainier, I went for a walk. But maybe for my current state, the walk was a metaphorical Mount Rainier.

There are so many things I wish I could do if I had the physical resources. I want to play volleyball all the time. I get so envious when I see the nets at Liberty Park. I would to start Tae Kwon Do again. I was a black belt entering high school. I want to learn how to mountain bike. I want to learn how to ride a horse. I can’t do those things right now. It sucks, but I know that already. I can’t control that part of my life, and there are so many things that I can still do that aren’t sitting on the couch being sad and lonely. Even if I’m bedridden, I can set small goals– read, write, draw, do small amounts of exercise. I can talk to people. I can get up for short amounts of time. I still have awesome roommates, a great GPA at the University of Utah. None of us lose all of the good things in our lives when we have bad days. We just have to break past whatever negativity is looming over us, and get back a little closer to the good, even if we don’t quite make it back into the good. Climbing a small mountain is much more rewarding than sitting still.

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