Once depression and anger begin to alleviate, you can shift your focus towards finding purpose in life. Your depression combined with your disability may have had you thinking that your life was now meaningless. A life without meaning only produces more depression. Make your life worthwhile by being motivated to set goals. Setting and achieving goals gives your life purpose and direction while boosting your self-esteem and self-determinism.
The best goals start with being SMART goals. This means that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. You know that your disability will stand in the way of some accomplishments so setting an unrealistic goal will not be helpful. Instead, focus on SMART goals to build encouragement and momentum. If you are feeling stuck in a rut of self-doubt, seek out the opinions of trusted supports in your life to find goals.
Setting goals is a start. The rest takes action. Here’s how to make goals into reality:
- Document it. Putting the information on paper creates tangibility. It will remind you of what you are working for and why you want to achieve it. Have visual reminders around the house to maintain focus.
- Work backwards. With goals, finding the place to start is tricky. You cannot proceed if you do not know where to begin. Break the goal down in smaller steps starting at the end and moving to the beginning. If you want to get outside everyday, the process would go: Prepare yourself for departure. Take appropriate steps to gain assistance. Run through modifications based on your disability. Acknowledge the benefits of fresh air. Go out the door.
- See the prize. Close your eyes and imagine what life will be like after you complete your goal. Think of the benefits and how depression will lessen.
- Spread the word. You do not need to act alone when it comes to goals. Having assistance with a goal does not diminish the act. You could do it by yourself, but it is easier (and more fun) to do it with others. Your friends and family will be happy to help.
- Victories on the road to your goal may seem small but any movement is a big accomplishment. Praise yourself and establish rewards along the way for movement. Patting yourself on the back will build momentum and you will be more likely to complete the next step.
Having a physical disability creates more stress, tension and frustration in your life. These aspects lead directly to more depression and anger. Working to acknowledge and reduce these feelings will free up more energies to pursue self-worth through goal setting. Goals give your life direction. They let you know that, no matter your situation, you are a fantastic person capable of amazing things.