Targets & Goals (Part 2) – Long-Term Targets & Goals
Strengths & Weaknesses – This comes back to what I was talking about in point 1 of last weeks post. You have to really thinking about and assess what stage of your recovery you are at and what you’re strengths and weaknesses are. If we answer the questions we pose to ourselves truthfully, it enables us to identify if there are any weak links in the chain. Areas that need to be improved upon. When we have completed this self-analysis we are then in a position to see where the difficulties will come up in the future, to know where we need to strengthen and are able to set ourselves an achievable long-term goal with the best chance of success.
1. Know Your Goal & How To Achieve It – Once we know what our strengths and weaknesses are we are in a much better position to identify our target and work out a plan to reach it in a way that focuses on our strengths and by identifying the aspects of our lifestyles that could be problematic, or indeed contributory, to the problem. As an example, at a recent doctors appointment (around June I think) I was told that I was obese according to the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale. My parents and I looked at what could be contributing to my weight problem and we came up with the following: sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, poor diet as well as excess snacking and comfort eating. As a family, we decided that we would eat healthier food in smaller portions from then on. My father and I joined the local sports centre (we now attend the gym and the pool twice a week). I have not had an alcoholic drink since January and I have stopped snacking (other than fruit). During that time, my weight has plummeted to 17 stone; 7 lb. from 18 stone; 1 lb. During this time I have realized that with long-term targets, it is just as much about identifying the cause as it is recognizing the problem. Before taking the appropriate steps to tackle the causes in order to achieve that long-term target.
2. Take Your Time – One of the results of ABI and the way it manifests itself is that we are often left with an abundance of time to fill. This can be both a blessing and a curse but in the case of pursuing long-term goals, it is the former. You can use that time to assess yourself, your progress, pursuits that have not gone that well. The fact that we have long-term goals and ambitions and, in most cases, a lot of free time allows us to devote ourselves to the pursuit of that goal. I think, when we talk of long-term targets, WE NEED TO SEE THAT THEY ARE LONG-TERM. One of the worst things to do is to put a deadline on the target. It adds unnecessary pressure to you and also makes any setbacks seem one hundred times worse than they actually are
3. Commit To It – This is probably the shortest point I’ll have to write for Headway. Once you have identified that realistic, achievable long-term goal, dive in. Do it. The only person that is stopping you is you and, unfortunately, nobody is going to do it for you. Throw yourself into it with everything you have.
4. Persistence & Discipline – As I mentioned above, most ABI patients are blessed with more time than most people to try and achieve our long-term ambitions. However, one of the big problems with this is that the amount of time we do have can allow us to become lethargic and undisciplined. It does, in the end, come down to how much you want the thing you are trying to get. As is the case with me regarding my weight loss mission, there are times when I really don’t want to go to the gym or, as someone who also writes a lot, I often don’t want to sit at a desk and write. But nobody is going to do these things for us. It is about self-motivation and developing a discipline where these necessities that lead to our end goal become almost habitual, a regular part of the working day.
5. Don’t Despair at Setbacks, Even Indulge in Them – When tackling a long-term goal it’s unrealistic to believe that there will not be setbacks. Sometimes, a small slip can seem like an endless fall, as though all of our hard work has been undone. That is not the case. We (more accurately, our discipline) may occasionally break and we can end up reverting to old habits for an evening or a day. The key is not to allow that slip to break you completely. The key is to keep the end goal in sight. I found that, on an occasion where I indulged in a Chinese after an evening out, I had to accept this for what it was, a one-time thing, that all was not lost. It was simply a setback and one that can be easily remedied after a couple of days in the gym. So I decided just to enjoy my meal and know that as of Monday it was back to business as usual. Exercise, healthy food and smaller portions.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Change Things Up – The key thing I have learnt during the many successes and failures I have enjoyed and suffered while pursuing different things is that you have to lead the way. You have to find a way of doing things that is right for you. Many of the things I have succeeded at were as a result of a constant stream of trial and error. If something is not right for you and is not working the way you had hoped then try something else, try again. Just don’t give up!
7. Celebrate Your Achievements, No Matter How Small – Finally, same as on the last blog post regarding short-term goals. Every time you get a minor win, celebrate it. The little wins are what keep you going as you try to win the war.
About the author
My life was changed for ever on the 30th of August 2009 when an attack on a night out left me with sever brain injuries. I was left in an induced coma after suffering fractures to the skull, bleeds on the brain, as well as severe bruising to the frontal lobes. Since the injury I have found it hard to find and keep work, to maintain relationships, and generally stay positive. I have decided to share all of my journey with you, in the hope we can bring brain injury awareness to the level it should be at. Please, follow my own WordPress blog Life After Brain Injury to keep up to date with my brain injury journey! Follow me on Twitter: @ABIBlogger
Tom Massey, ABI Blogger