It’s brutally hot, I’m super sun burned… but it’s Monday so we’ve got a brand new week ahead of us!

Short-term goals (and failures)

We’re talking about short…short-term goals, like day-to-day short-term goals. I always like to take some time each night to plan out some of the things I’d like to accomplish when the sun rises the next day. Why? I think it gives me direction and purpose when both of those things can be lost in the stress of CF care. The CF routine is what it is. It’s time consuming and necessary. It’s not going to move. In fact, we discussed it last week… why alter an otherwise successful routine? I’d argue that small amounts of stress could even be seen as a positive when we look at the routine as a whole. It keeps me, the patient, grounded in achieving successful completion of the routine each day. Goals surrounding the routine, however, change day in and day out, and can easily be lost. There should be nothing constant about an otherwise fluid lifestyle. Now when I say I’m planning out goals, I’m not spending an hour thinking about the days to come. Rather it’s more like a mental checklist. What do I want to do tomorrow? If I can look ahead, which can be a bit stress in and of itself, I can at least be in front of what I’m hoping to do. For example, last night I was looking forward to writing my weekly Monday blog, a few work-related tasks, tonight’s hockey game and 50 pages of the book I’m reading. Will I achieve everything? I hope so, but I know that since I’m out ahead of everything that I’d like to I can budget accordingly and move through the day with little stress. If I don’t get all the little things done, it’ll be okay, I’ll have another day to work it out.

Learning from short-term failures is equally important. Sometimes the shit hits the fan and I lose sight of some of my goals, or something else entirely happens. At the end of the day, I like to take a moment to LOOK BACK. Did I get everything done? Sometimes the answer is no. When that happens, I consider why. What was the root cause of the issue – misallocation of time, health, lack of motivation? When I can confidently settle on the issue, I have an opportunity to adjust accordingly for tomorrow. I think it’s important to fail. Failing is the best teacher we have, especially when it’s small things.

Long-term goals (and failures)

The long-term side of this discussion requires a little bit more thought and action. I think it’s important to use short term goals to build up to longer and longer-term goals – simply (and maintaining a consistent example with the blog), I want to get today’s post done, which will be 1 of 5 days with new content this week. Looking longer down the line than that… let’s say I want to get a 5-10% increase in PFT… what can I do to achieve that? How can I fit that into my daily routine? Is increased therapy the answer? After my two daily treatment sessions, I can add a third Vest treatment in or, more albuterol if it’s a hot/humid day. More exercise? Is 4x a week enough, or should I be reaching for 5-6 days? Better nutrition? Let’s bump feeding tube use to 6x a week consistently for the next 4 months. It my best chance at succeeding going to be a combination of all the above? Or perhaps my goal is to maintain stability, which generally is my yearly goal. Is what I am doing, working?

When it comes to CF-centric goals, I know that I will most likely fail. CF is outside the realm of total control, and that’s okay! I’ve come to grips with that. But that doesn’t mean my goals need to stay within my ability to control the outcome. It’s important to push the limit and figure out what really can (or can’t) be a possibility. I apply that lesson to all aspects of my life. Sometimes it’s easier to come to grips with than others – having to need to live at home for the past 5 years after graduating hasn’t been the easiest thing, and surly wasn’t what I had planned for during my college years, but my health required the extra support and oversight offered through extra eyes on me.

My long-term goals must to be able to adapt with my changing life, health, and needs and wants because that’s the only way I will achieve them. I have plenty I want to do with my life, and as I grow older those far of things are going to alter ever so slightly as I go through the peaks and valleys of normal life!

…and that’s what I’m thinking about this morning!