Goals & Mindset
I have found a huge obstacle to overcome when dealing with my own anxiety and agoraphobia, is trying to tackle the ‘problem’ or situation as a ‘whole’, for example, I want to be better ‘right now’ and go to the places I want to go at ‘this instant’ and do the things I want to immediately without any anxiety, or at least feel able to deal with the feelings and carry on regardless. Of course, this is most likely unrealistic and I haven’t found a magic wand to disappear the feelings of anxiety and panic as of yet! ?
I have noticed, in pretty much all areas of my life, I have wanted to achieve a goal immediately, however large the goal was. For example, when I was working as an electrician and had a house rewire to carry out, my mentality or approach would be to rewire the whole house. My goal was to rewire the whole house. This would actually be quite overwhelming, as it would take some time to achieve the goal, thus creating a feeling of non-achievement, for the days I hadn’t reached the goal of completing the house-rewire. This mentality was how I dealt with everything I did, learning songs/techniques for guitar, painting/drawing a picture and so on. I would always set myself up for an immense ‘mountain to climb’. Often, I could not even see the top of the mountain.
When having a goal which may only be achieved in the distant future, it seems to be less overwhelming to break the ‘big’ goal into smaller goals. For instance, when I was to rewire a house, it would have been more beneficial for me, to break the full house rewire into smaller goals, such as breaking the house down into daily achievable goals, for example, rewire kitchen, living-room, bedrooms and so on.
Breaking tasks down into smaller goals which are achievable in the moment has many positive effects, including a sense of achievement, increased motivation, decreased procrastination, elimination of feelings of overwhelm, satisfaction and so on.
You can break your goals into smaller and smaller goals if that is what is needed. I now know, I need (and needed) to break my goals down into smaller goals and will split a ‘big’ goal up into many, many smaller goals. I even approach chores as goals now and feel happy or satisfied when each small goal is completed. I also seem to get more done, instead of setting myself too large a goal, being overwhelmed leading to procrastination, lack of motivation, etc.
I have also applied this way of thinking to my anxiety condition and if I feel I have set up a goal which is too overwhelming, I will break it down into even smaller goals which are achievable. This seems to have a huge positive impact with maintaining positivity, achievement, confidence and so on. It is also good for your well-being to be mindful of your achievements, in whatever form they take, and give yourself praise after each goal is achieved.
This is such a simple change in mindset and for me has been invaluable to my sense of well-being and for years, I could not see the ‘wood for the trees’ with my previous way of approaching the way I went about situations relating to this post.
I’m still quite the procrastinator, but things are improving and am practicing and building on the small goals I have set myself, learning new and healthy patterns for well-being and recovery.
Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/agoraphobicnomad
(Written June 2015).