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Sun, Aug. 26th, 2012, 05:36 pm
Working on a New Plan, Taylored to My Illness

Step 1: Pick Your Goals

I used to get stuck on this one quite a bit, until I learned that it is okay to change these goals later. They aren't set in stone. My current goals were to be sober, go to school, get physically healthy (and eventually take up martial arts or boxing again), learn Spanish, go back to singing, go back to writing. No wonder I couldn't keep up.

Obviously staying sober and getting at least somewhat in physical shape are going to be paramount, because nothing else can happen unless those happen first. We have three stretch classes, one volunteer day, two therapy appointments, and various other doctor stuff every week. I can maybe pick one other thing, either Spanish or writing or singing. Like with any chronic illness, I'm going to have to cut back on social outings. I used to go out six days a week, now it's two, but really it should be one (with the exception of doctors and classes). Still slowly working on making the house more visitor friendly, in the hopes that more people will come to visit me here.

Even though I view studying Spanish as the least fun of the three alternate activities, it is the most useful (I think) and I swore I was going to learn a foreign language at some point. If I manage fluency, I will take a trip somewhere fun. That's my promise to myself, anyway.

Step 2: Figure the Steps to Get There

So I've extracted a single endpoint for the aforementioned goals, something from my bucket list, which is "Climb to the top of an Aztec or Mayan pyramid and scream the primal YALP". This is the concrete thing I'm going to envision whenever I'm feeling too lazy to study my Spanish or hit the treadmill (and quite possibly now, the stairstepper). So now the 'goals' from part one are really just steps to this final goal. I ought to learn Spanish, it will make the trip easier. I need to be sober and in shape and save some money for the trip.

To learn Spanish, I have to practice at least 30 minutes of every day, more is better if I want to learn it faster. To get into cardio shape, I need to exercise 3 times a week.

To stay sober, I need to practice my coping skills. Instead of working on it an hour every couple of days, I'm going to break it down into very tiny chunks and do them about 3-4 times a week (close to every other day). Meditation should also be broken down into small chunks that are practiced with frequency. Coping can include coping with addiction or illness or mental health, as they are all interrelated.

I should probably plan in a nap time every day. All this learning and exercising is bound to make me tired. I only have twelve hours a day I can use for things other than resting. I have to remind myself of that constantly. Not sixteen hours like other people, but twelve, and that includes both work and relaxation. I need to sleep a total of twelve hours, ten at night and a two-hour nap in the day sound good.

I need a day off every week, a day where NOTHING is scheduled. Traditionally this is Saturday for me, but lately I've been planning it as a 'light' day. Well, no more. It's an OFF day, a day for doing nothing unless I want to do it. And I need to hold to that as if it were sacred, to keep myself from burning out on this schedule.

I'm still going to have to cut some corners, probably in chores, and meal preparation, and grooming. I will have to enlist AgtOrange's help, and I may need outside help as well.

Step 3: Pick Your Rewards

If I go to both therapies (Tuesday & Friday), on Friday I can stop by the vintage store and shop for clothes or hats.

If I do all my exercises for a week (stretch, strength, run), on Friday I can go out with my best friend for lunch.

If I practice Spanish all week, on Saturday or Sunday I can go out to eat with AgtOrange.

I am finally, finally going to have to rid myself of this corn syrup/cola addiction. And what about chores or meals? I know that eating healthy is important, but I'm having problems gathering the energy to prepare meals from scratch, which is the only way I can avoid all of my allergies and intolerances. I think I will have to enlist outside aide from one or more friends to help me cook and clean a little. Who needs a few extra dollars?

Candy and sodas go bye-bye, but my Starbucks and pastry in the morning will be a treat for eating healthy (veggies and whole grains) the day before. And homemade soy ice cream is fine as long as I've been good and stayed away from dairy, sulfites, candies, and colas.

My final reward, of course, will be completing that task from my bucket list. I will know I am ready for my final reward when I can pass an ACTFL test equivalent to IRL rating of 2 for listening and speaking, and 1 for reading and writing. (I have already picked out a further goal endpoint, a shopping trip in Buenos Aires, if I can test as an IRL level 3 for listening and speaking, and 2 for reading and writing.) FYI, level five is considered equivalent to a native speaker.

Step 4: Pick Your Plan

Okay, so we have our goals and rewards, now it's time to schedule (or in this case, reschedule). This includes a basic plan and also, a contingency plan to cover the extra doctor's appoints, visits from friends, or sick days.

Gonna do yet another schedule today after I'm done posting, provided this awful bronchial cold doesn't kill me first. I should probably work in a SMART recovery meeting or two as well.

Step 5: Mechanisms to Stay on Track

Here is where you write down as many ways life trips you up that you can think of, and what you are going to do in those situations. Be specific, and plot in small rewards, even if just a mental pat on the back for doing well.

I'll post the new schedule tonight, but first I think a hot shower will help to clear up my chest congestion.

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