E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

Wrestling with goal setting of a sort

Last week, I reflected on managing the demands and stress of being in a caregiving role. I think i am beginning to hear Christine's message to me that we have moved into chronic illness care. While she has gotten better since the acute episodes some years ago, the "getting better" trajectory may not continue.

There's a balance i need to find between hope for continued improvement and sustainability. After writing last week and corresponding with bobby1933, i asked myself, "What am I attached to?" My plan, was my answer to myself. The "ah-ha" for me (that won't be obvious to anyone else) is for me to recall the bad habits i developed in grad school. In the morning i would say, "I am going to make progress on my dissertation today by doing X!" Get to the lab and there's a crisis with the computer system to address. That crisis might be over by noon, but my inner message was, "Well there goes today! I've been interrupted and can't make progress. I will go read all of Usenet."

In hope, i plan for a morning (my most productive time) that includes Christine at her best. When elephants intrude, i am taken by surprise, and my intention is thwarted. If i don't set intentions, i loose that productive time. The obvious (to everyone else?) and challenging (to me) thing to do is to set the intention with the awareness that interruptions may happen.


Great, universe, thanks for handing me ANOTHER chance to learn this skill.

I guess the question for me, for this week, is why do i insist it is all or nothing? There are so many parts of my life where i am far better able to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty than my peers. Why can't i say to myself, "I will do X this morning, unless Y happens. If Y happens, it's OK."?

Better yet, why can't i say to myself, "I will do X this morning, unless something happens to interrupt. If i am interrupted, it's OK. It doesn't mean i am a failure at X." And after the interruption, i can go back to X. I am not DOOMED."

Why can't i?

It is true that my energy to do hard-for-me things diminishes during the day, but i think i've turned that into an all or nothing thing too. Not even bothering to tackle certain things in the evening.

Which is hinting at a second cognitive fallacy ("I can't do things in the evening") that may be influencing the first cognitive fallacy ("If i am interrupted in the morning, X will never get done.")

OK, another cognitive fallacy: It's not a matter of "can't". Why do i resist doing so?

I know there's something in these patterns that played into my depression, childhood lessons that one should be not wasting time. I know one of my ways out of the crippling parts of depression was to choose to not do things, to say back to "you oughta" inner voices "No." Choosing not to be driven by the "you oughta" was its own battle.

I don't want to be driven: am i seeing here that i think the choice is "be driven by some judging energy or fritter away time?"

OK, a vague area for queries for me to carry into the next week.

Tags: depression, elephant, procrastination

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