Bipolar disorder greatly impacts short-term and long-term goals. Individuals with bipolar disorder have a more difficult time making a goal and following through with it than those without bipolar disorder. I wish I could follow some of these motivational gurus, out in the world, with no hesitation. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.
NEW SET OF RULES
If you have bipolar disorder or any mental illness for that matter, you do not operate by the same set of rules as everybody else. Bipolar disorder dictates these new set of rules. The idea of “willful” anything is almost nonexistent to me. Bipolar disorder is an extreme change in moods, energy, motivation, overall activity levels and sleep. You can read up further on the details in Bipolar Disorder, What Does it Really Mean?.
The lower end of the bipolar spectrum is often characterized in extreme cases, with the individual having ruminating thoughts of death and possible suicide attempts. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 hours a day) at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
It is difficult to maintain any type of consistency or routine when bipolar disorder is based on extreme change.
Proactively work on what you have control over. For example, you have control over whether you take your medication or you do not. Medication is the staple of your mental health. Please do not lie to yourself and pretend like you do not need your medication. To maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. These are two simple things that you have control over when you have bipolar disorder.
A couple of months ago I started this blog. I wrote a couple of articles about ways to be proactive with your bipolar illness. You can read one of the posts here 1, 2, 3 and What?!.
I also mentioned towards the beginning of my blog that I am in the process of creating an ebook. This product is centered around being proactive with your health. I am still creating this ebook and do not have a timeline for its completion date. It will provide specific proactive ways to keep yourself healthy.
When it comes to goals, short-term goals are your biggest bet for completion. I know that a short-term goal can generally be a week or less. You are the one that dictates the length in time for the goal.
I am taking this information from my own experience. I used to be a personal trainer and am a bipolar coach now. A short-term goal ranges anywhere from a day up until a week.
Due to the cyclic nature of bipolar disorder and the time between episodes, an individual with bipolar disorder can have great success following through with a short-term goal. Remember, someone with bipolar disorder is battling their moods, energy, motivation, overall activity levels and sleep. With so much inconsistency going on, it is quite difficult to follow through.
Being proactive with your illness and controlling what you can, will help in completing your short-term goal.
Long-term goals just have a longer timeframe to complete the goal. Whereas a short-term goal ranges from a day up until a week, a long-term goal is anything longer than a week in time.
Someone with bipolar disorder can complete a long-term goal. It just takes more planning. You need to have a plan B in case you are not able to work on your goal for a day. Just like for the short-term goals, you need to be proactive and control what you can.
When it comes to making goals and you have bipolar disorder, you need to be honest with yourself. How often do you have episodes? How do you feel daily? What type of bipolar disorder do you have? Where are you in your life?
Let me let you in on a little secret: A long-term goal is just many short-term goals combined.
Let us look at an example. Since I told you I was a personal trainer, we will look at weight loss as a long-term goal. You should not lose any more from one to two pounds of weight each week. Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds. That is ten to twenty weeks. We will choose the longer time period so adversity cannot derail any progress.
So, your long-term goal is twenty weeks of exercise and watching your diet. Your short-term goal will be one pound of weight loss each week, for twenty weeks. Remember, this is a very conservative and broad weight loss program to demonstrate the framework for both short-term goals and long-term goals.
What has been your experience with goal setting and goal achieving? I would love to hear what helps you and what does not.
“Observations from my Bipolar Mind” is available for free download on the Bipolar Battle website.
Until next time, take care of yourself. 🙂