I need to tell myself to get “back in the swing of things” about every two and a half months. I begin by being on target for what I need to do, goals created, focus established, all tools gathered, and I head off. Then, for some reason, I find myself off the rails… looking around, trying to figure out what I need to do, and how I got off track. When I get to this point, I know it’s time to gather the same “Here’s what I need to do” tasks that—when I do them (truth is, I don’t always)—work every time.
Here’s what they are:
1. I stop and I shut down. Whether it’s a very long walk in the woods, a movie marathon day, or a weekend trip, I leave it all behind.
2. I re-establish my goals. What did I set out to do and what does it look like? Remember these will evolve; it never hurts to re-evaluate while your re-establishing.
3. I create two lists. One that is what I have to do; the other is what I want to do.
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4. I choose something off of both of those lists that I will accomplish on a weekly basis. You must do both if mental health is to be achieved and goals are to be met.
5. Then I tackle life in chewable bites. I’m not going to get the first five items on both lists done in the first two days. I take smaller, achievable bites out of those lists, being content with the small accomplishments as much as the big ones. This helps me not get discouraged along the way.
6. I give myself a pass. There will be times that life just throws all plans, goals, and schedules out the window. It takes both grit and grace, but I’ve learned to be OK with that.
7. Finally, I accept the fact that even with all this preparation, action, and intention, I will shut down again somewhere in the future, and that’s not a bad thing.
Instead, it’s an opportunity to have a greatly needed reset. We all need those.
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