Scattered Goal Setting: Just Do It

I suck at structure and routine. It’s my kryptonite.

Every day planner or daily journal I’ve ever had, was lucky to be utilized for more than a couple of weeks. Organized goal setting? Forget about it. I’ve tried. I’ve taken classes. I’ve been mentored. I’ve learned strategies and used templates. Nothing sticks. It’s just beyond me.

Maybe it’s a Gemini thing. Maybe it’s a Bipolar thing. Maybe it’s a PTSD thing. Whatever it is, it’s a ME thing. I have felt like a failure because, no matter how hard I try or how much I want to, it’s just not something I have been able to achieve and maintain. I’ve had people who have done their best to teach me and guide me into doing this, give up on me, with the false belief that I am not interested in growing and achieving success . . . or their idea of success.

I’ve had mental health advocates and therapists explain and teach methods and techniques, stressing the critical importance of structure, order, and routine in the recovery process. Service providers for my daughter, who experiences the world through the autism spectrum, have campaigned for me to do these things for her well-being.

I’ve tried. I really have.

I’m coming to a realization: I’ve been doing the things, just not in recognizable ways. I have a loose routine and keep a schedule, sort of. Every appointment, class, and commitment goes into my phone’s calendar. If it isn’t in there, it doesn’t happen. So, I show up to just about everything I say I’m going to. There’s one thing that’s a constant. Every Sunday, I go in early to help set up for the worship and teaching service with my faith community. The rest of the schedule varies from day to day and week to week. But, it’s all in my phone.

My personal care routine revolves around those appointments. The ADLs (Activities of Daily Living): specifically the personal hygiene ones revolve around the things in my phone. If there’s an external commitment where I’m going to be around people, then it happens. If it’s just me, myself, and I staying home . . . well, it may or may not happen. I’m working on that. Definitely room for improvement. Baby steps.

As far as goal setting goes, I’m not so SMART. Do you know what SMART goals are?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Written down, with steps and actions laid out, in small, manageable bites.

I’ve tried. Haven’t been able to keep up with it. I get overwhelmed with the planning, my brain starts spinning, I lose focus, and get lost in the details.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been recovering anyway. Guess what else? I’m on the right path and trajectory for what I want to be doing.

I decided that, after five years of focusing on my mental health recovery and eight years of working to stabilize my youngest child, who is on the autism spectrum, that I’m probably ready and able to hold down a job. At least, I hope I am.

Get a job. I didn’t write it down, exactly. I’ve written about wanting to get one, but, it’s not in a diary, journal, or planner. I got a little specific – Peer Support Specialist. Not written down, but continuously on my mind.

I didn’t write an action plan. I just decided that, after seven years of not being employed, I needed to refresh and update my office computer skills. After all, there really isn’t a job in many industries that doesn’t require knowledge and ability to use some computer skills to document the work being done. So, I went where I knew to start the process because it’s where I’ve started in the past.

There was a calendar of classes and for updating those skills. It also had job readiness activities listed: Workshops for Resumes, Job Search, Interpersonal Skills, Interview Skills. So, I signed up for all of them and plugged them into my phone calendar as appointments, so they would happen. No concrete plan going in; just find out what was being offered and take advantage of it.

I figured if I want to do Peer Support work, I should probably continue and increase my participation in mental health group programs. So, I signed up for NAMI’s Peer to Peer class. Through that process I discovered they have a training for the job I want. I applied, but didn’t get in. Since I hadn’t planned and counted on it, not getting in didn’t derail me. I just looked at the reason I didn’t get in: I needed to be currently engaged in a job or volunteer position doing the work. When a volunteer opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it. No planning. I just did it.

I heard about another training opportunity and called about it the next day. Heard back the following day and discovered I have less than a week to submit and application and a letter of reference. I happened to run into my therapist while waiting for one of the groups and asked for the letter. We’re doing it later today when I see her for my appointment. I submitted the online application yesterday.

The point is, that I haven’t done any planning. I just decided and followed through with steps that made the most sense in the moment they presented themselves. I’m not going to lie and say that none of the things I have been taught and told about goal setting, time-management, planning, and organizing haven’t helped the process along. They absolutely have. Just not in ways most recognizable to the gurus of goals.

If you’re anything like me and planning for a goal or developing a structured routine don’t work, then, as Nike suggests . . .

Just Do It.



Where to start?

In the beginning was…chaos and clutter!  On more than one occasion I have confessed to being like Oscar Madison from The Odd Couple.  It is not an exaggeration and here are the pics to prove it!

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First order of business, get the cleaning done and set a routine for keeping it up!  To that end, I’m going to revisit the FlyLady.

“Clutter is also stealing your precious time! Clutter cannot be organized. It can only be eliminated!” ~FlyLady

I DEFINITELY need to learn how to ELIMINATE the clutter!

FLYing means Finally Loving Yourself. I want you to have what I have: peace of mind, pride in my home, and a passion for living.

I dipped my toes in to FLYing in 2011, but I was still too caught up in my stress addiction.  That’s about the only thing I can think of to call it. Anyway, I’m ready to start FLYing again ~ not just as an expression of finally loving myself, but also as an expression of love for Luna who deserves to grow up with structure, boundaries, and most importantly a mom who is present and engaged.  It’s also expression of love for Jerry, despite his flaws he is doing his very best to provide for our family and the few days a month that he gets to be home with us should not be consumed with the chaotic energy from the clutter.  Since I know how stressful it is for him to be surrounded by the chaos and that it is a trigger for his agitation and negativity, and I want to have that home time be as pleasant as possible, I owe it to myself, as much as I owe it to him.

There are 31 Beginner Baby Steps, one for each day of the month of July . . . but I only have five days before Jerry gets home.  Therefore, my plan of action for the next four days is to do the baby steps, AND do major work each day toward getting the apartment ready for Jerry’s homecoming.

Monday’s Plan

  1. Get up and get dressed to the shoes!
  2. Get Luna’s clothes and things ready for school
  3. Get Luna up and off to school
  4. Come home, turn Music Choice tv onto a rockin’ 80’s station
  5. 15 minutes getting laundry ready
  6. 15 minutes in the kitchen
  7. 15 minutes in the living room
  8. 15 minutes reading/editing project for my friend (This is my treat for me)
  9. Eat something
  10. Repeat steps 5 – 8 until Kitchen, Living Room, and Laundry or done or 2 p.m. arrives, whichever is first.
  11. From 2 – 4, I can focus on blogging: reading and writing before it’s time to pick Luna up from school.