IBD Awareness

Setting Goals with a Chronic Illness

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can put a wrench in the plans you have for your life. It certainly did for me. Setting goals can be a daunting process, but it does not always have to be. The approach I like to take when setting goals is starting small. Each day, I set about 3-5 small goals that I know I can achieve by the end of the day. I actually have two different lists, one with short-term goals and another with long-term goals.

If you are a Type A personality like myself, you love making lists and crossing those things off the list when they are complete. I find this gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride. But sometimes when we are not feeling too well, following that goal list can be difficult. In that case, it is okay to not reach your goals for that day. For a long time, I put off everything on my long-term goal list because I did not know how I was going to feel at that point in time. Only when my disease started to improve did I consider my long-term goals as being viable.

Before I was diagnosed, I made a vision board. The board was supposed to emulate what we wanted the next 5-10 years of our life to look like. I still have my vision board and I look at it every so often. It has served as a great reminder of what I envisioned for my life before I was diagnosed and where I am at now. There are still items on there that I can achieve in the coming years, regardless of having a chronic illness. Creating a vision board has such great benefits for us including increased motivation and making what seems like a dream become a reality. You can read more about the benefits of a vision board on this article by Goalcast.

The vision board I made in 2018

Goals transfer into purpose. In my case, I have used my goals to create a sense of purpose for myself and where I want to go in life. To start off 2021, I wrote a blog post with my goals for this year. One of my goals was to write more blog posts. By committing to writing more, I am turning the struggles that I have faced into a purpose. I am choosing to share my story and advice with others in the hopes that someone finds comfort and discovers their own purpose in life.

Those of us with chronic illness can no longer sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We certainly cannot watch the greatest joys in life pass us by. Now is the time to start setting those small goals, because eventually the rewards will be plentiful. Use your story to help others and find your purpose in life. You will not regret it.

This week I encourage you to write a few things down that you want to accomplish. I promise, crossing them off will feel very rewarding!

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