Month four of my goal setting challenge is almost upon me and it feels like the year is really flying by. Spring is finally here, Easter is quickly approaching and I can’t tell you just how much I’m looking forward to the next few months of spending lots of lovely time with my son, my family and my friends.
In fact, I feel more positive than I have in ages. I’ve certainly not felt this good since having my BIG MS relapse 18 months ago. A big part of this is definitely due to my MS ‘hangover’/brain fog/very limiting fatigue lifting just a little this month so I feel a bit more like myself again.
Don’t get me wrong, all of my symptoms are very much still there and impacting on my life, they’re just not quite as horrendous as they have been. However, even just a small improvement is amazing and I’m so very much grateful for the opportunities a bit of additional brain clarity brings. I now have everything crossed that my good fortune will continue and hope that the fog doesn’t creep back in.
My improving mood is also due to how much I’m enjoying blogging and connecting with others. I feel really well supported and I’m starting to build some great online friendships. There are some amazing chronic illness bloggers who are really inspirational and today I wanted to give Caz from Invisibly Me a special mention for being my main inspiration since I started my blog. She has been so encouraging these last few months and although our illnesses are different I feel like she really understands what I’m going through. She also writes from the heart and as such her blog is full of really thoughtful and engaging articles. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her blog yet then I highly recommend that you do!
Goal setting motivations
Staying true to my own advice, this year I will be making small, manageable changes each month to accomplish my goals across different aspects of my life, including health and wellbeing, parenting and family, finances/building an income and blogging. I’m still at the beginning of my journey but there’s a lot I’ve learnt already which should hopefully help me to stay on the right path.
By showing you how hard I’m working at surviving my own life hurdles and by demonstrating the success I’m having in achieving my goals I hope to inspire you to tackle your own hurdles and to take positive action by setting a few manageable goals and introducing some small but powerful changes into your life too.
Did I achieve my March goals?
Yes, I achieved my goals for March as well as I could! That is two months now where I’ve achieved everything I set out to accomplish as I did well with my goals in February too. With my brain fog clearing a bit it has certainly made things a bit easier!
My health and wellbeing goal was to take plenty of breaks to re-charge if doing something which requires a lot of concentration, such as writing blog posts. I think I’m definitely getting better at realising when I need to rest and knowing my limitations. As frustrating as it is having to stop when I just want to keep going, I understand that trying to carry on with something when I’m struggling to think clearly isn’t going to end well!
As I wrote last month, I’ve done well to distance myself from people who are unsympathetic to my condition or who treat parenting as a competition and this month I really focused on spending time with all the lovely people in my life whenever I could. I enjoyed being able to share my successes and struggles with others and talk about my son without feeling judged as a parent. As I felt a little better this month I also got to spend more quality time with him which was absolutely amazing!
I met my financial goal of paying some money off the total amount we owe on our mortgage and although we still have a substantial amount to repay on our mortgage each month, between securing a better interest rate and reducing the amount we owe overall, our monthly payments have noticeably reduced. I feel like a small weight has been lifted off me and I’m just imagining now how fantastic it must feel to finally pay a mortgage off in full!
I definitely felt like I had many successes and some failures this month in blogging, as expected. The most important thing for now though is that I’m really enjoying expressing myself in my writing. I started to introduce tutorials on easy DIY crafts on my blog and I was worried that this new direction wouldn’t fit well with my existing content. However, I’m really glad that I took the risk as I feel like writing about my interests makes my blog more rounded and is a better reflection of who I am and what I enjoy, it also seems to have been well-received. Hopefully, I can help to inspire people to explore their creativity with the different crafts I make as part of my overall health and wellbeing advice!
My April goals
I really hope that I continue to see an improvement with my cognition this month but I also need to be prepared for if that doesn’t happen! I know I have a few things planned that I can look forward to but I also need to remember to take each day as it comes and to not use more energy than I have as I always pay for it later.
So, here are my new goals;
Health and wellbeing
- Clearly communicate to friends and family my MS symptoms, thoughts and feelings, as they won’t understand what I’m going through unless I share my experiences.
I’m definitely better at this now than I was when I was first diagnosed but with my calendar starting to fill up a bit more this coming month I need to remember to speak up if things start to get a bit too much or if my energy levels begin to plummet. With my illness being invisible (apart from the occasional spasm) how I’m feeling on the inside isn’t completely obvious to others, even those who know me really well. I can’t expect my friends and family to help me by making adjustments for me if I don’t let them know how bad my symptoms are at that particular time.
Parenting and family
- If I’m having a good day to enjoy it with my son without trying to take on too much and making myself worse.
If I notice some improvement with my cognition again this month it’s especially important that I don’t overdo it as although it’s tempting to believe I can do more than I realistically can my limitations are still present and certainly can’t be ignored.
Part of enjoying time with my son is going to be about letting go of some guilt and focusing on the positives instead. Obviously parenting with a chronic illness isn’t easy but I didn’t bring it on myself and I’m doing my best so it’s time I stopped being my own worst enemy and recognised how well I’m doing at being a mum whilst navigating my new life with MS.
Finances and building an income
- To try not to worry about money so much- probably my hardest goal!
I am so guilty for getting stressed out when it comes to money and as stress is such a trigger for MS it’s really important that I try to get a handle on it. I’ve always worried a lot about money, even when I worked in a well-paid job, so I know the problem lies with my mindset and not my current circumstances. There is a big difference between being sensible/proactive with money and just endlessly worrying about it and I need to find some strategies to help ease my anxiety more effectively!
- To enjoy my new creative outlet and to help make a difference in other peoples’ lives!
I love this goal! I’ve been really enjoying blogging as a creative outlet already but now I’ve found my feet a bit more my goal this month is to really run with it and have fun. That means more experimenting with art and craft techniques for tutorials and writing some exciting articles that I’ve been planning and can’t wait to make a start on!
Also, I’m not expecting my blog to change the world or anything but it’s great that it’s starting to reach the people that I really want to help the most. When I published my MS hurdles article this month, sharing the thoughts and feelings I had when trying to select the best treatment option for me, I knew that it certainly wouldn’t be relevant to everyone but I’ve had such great feedback from people who have had or are currently going through similar experiences and it’s so motivating to read comments from readers letting me know how much they’re looking forward to the next article in the series.
I really want to build on this now by producing a great MS hurdles post to do their expectations justice! I’d also like to start doing a few guest posts to reach new readers whose lives I can hopefully help make a difference to also, although I do need to remember not to ask more of myself than my illness allows.