How to Set Goals with Anxiety
A couple years ago, due to a traumatic life event, I began to experience depression, PTSD and anxiety. Although the depression and PTSD have all but disappeared, save for the occasional trigger, the anxiety has stayed. I’ve spent the last couple months simplifying my life as much as possible so as to rid myself of anxiety. I’ve cut back on my work load and started an exercise regimen as well as making the choice to unschool my son. This lifestyle has greatly changed my approach to life and has allowed me to live generally anxiety free. I’m happy to say I have my anxiety pretty much under control. I rarely experience it and for the most part, when it does arise, I can see it coming and take action to talk myself off the ledge.
However, this week I decided I want to set some goals. Setting goals gives me anxiety. If I set goals it means I need to make time to do them daily or weekly. And that means things to add to my to do list. Lists give me anxiety. However, I love them. I need them. I have far worse anxiety without them. Over the past few months I’ve been able to almost do away with lists. And yet, for some reason, I sat down tonight and wrote down, on paper, some attainable goals for the year. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Those larger goals mean smaller goals. They mean daily and weekly to dos. They inevitably mean anxiety, no matter how passionate I may be about them.
I’m not sure why I’ve decided to do this. My life is pretty simple, pretty peaceful and there’s no pressure for me to change that. So what’s the point? I suppose the point is that I want to reach beyond myself. There are some goals I set because I want to expand my own knowledge and consciousness. Other goals are because I see people hurting and I want to connect with them. I want to empower them.
It’s an interesting thing, living with a trauma that leaves a mental and emotional impact, living with a trauma that effects your day to day thoughts and behaviors. For the first few years, I just endured the aftermath. When I took action, I suppose in a way, I took action by burying it – ignoring it. I changed my life to pretend it wasn’t there. Both of these reactions are something we all do. It’s easier than coping, right?
This time, I intend to face it head on. It’s something that terrifies me. But as I’ve learned recently, if I’m afraid of something I should probably do it. I’ve been living by this ideal and flinging myself head first (sometimes literally) into the things I fear. So far it’s turned out rather well. I’m still afraid but I’m more empowered. I’m freer. I can breathe deeply. My heart expands and I feel like I’m living.