I’ve been thinking about goals for a while now. When I started my bullet journal in January, I started a 2-page spread for goals. I came up with some blogging goals, but otherwise not much. It’s something I revisit regularly, but still there’s not much. And I’m not sure if that’s a problem or not. Am I just not trying hard enough?
I just Googled goal setting, and the first hit that came up was about SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Limited. It’s hard to avoid, though, that mental illness is operating on its own agenda and will happily throw a monkey wrench into all of those things. I have no idea what’s going to be attainable and realistic six months from now, which makes me reluctant to set specific goals, especially if I’m trying to think more than a couple months ahead of time. It was interesting to see many of my thoughts on this topic echoed in Revenge of Eve’s recent post. Setting goals and then failing miserably is only going to make me feel more crap-arific, so that’s something I want to avoid if possible.
Do more travelling: Not a SMART goal, but what can you do. I used to think I’d like to have visited 40 countries by age 40, but I’m definitely going to end up falling short of that goal. Now I’m just hoping I get the interest and energy back to do more travelling, but right now am feeling pretty lukewarm about this.
Get a community mental health job: This is the kind of work that I like to do and am good at doing; however, there are some external barriers that need to somehow remove themselves before this is attainable. I’m not sure yet how that’s going to happen.
Find love: This is not the least bit SMART as a goal. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, but probably having the love of someone a little more human than a guinea pig would be a good thing. But then again I hate people, so perhaps it’s best to just cross this baby off the list.
Have a barnful of animals: This is not very realistic, but it makes for a nice little bucolic dream. I am not currently and probably never will be capable of taking care of a barnful of animals.
SMART goals for this year
Europe trip in the fall: I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I had been thinking Slovenia and Croatia, but then decided that might involve more moving around than I feel up for. Now I’m thinking Italy, but I want to be sure I’ll have the stamina for wandering around and seeing the sights, so I’m going to leave a final decision until closer to the time.
Submit a paper to an academic journal: I have an almost completed paper that I started a year or two ago examining my own experience of workplace bullying within the context of nursing culture. It uses the same research methodology (autoethnography) that I used in my master’s thesis and previous papers I’ve published. It’s been on the back burner because the peer review process is intimidating. It’s the role of peer reviewers to pick apart any holes in a manuscript, so that if it does eventually get published the work is the best it can possibly be. I’m just not sure if the inevitable criticism (I say inevitable because it’s just part of the process) might have a negative effect that outweighs any potential benefit.
Get a tattoo with a Celtic oak tree design: This idea popped into my head a few months back. I liked the idea of a design symbolizing endurance. But as time has passed since the initial spark I’ve grown pretty apathetic about the whole thing.
Do a nursing continuing education activity every month: I’ve been doing this, even though to be honest it feels kind of pointless.
What I’ve found to be most effective is setting out weekly goals in my bullet journal. That’s a manageable time frame that allows me to plan and act. And I suppose if that’s what’s working then that’s what I should be sticking with. I can set goals for the future when I get there.
This how-to guide on Creating a Bullet Journal to Support Mental Health is available free from the MH@H Download Centre. My approach isn’t about artistry; it’s all about functionality.