Saturday, June 06, 2015

Problems with Goals

Marcelle Greene
Up Stroke
Sunday, June 2, 2013

In January I set three goals to be finished by the end of June. I'm not going to achieve any of them.

The first goal was something I thought I should do but realized I didn't want to do. I crossed it off my list. The stroke has taught me not to waste time on things I don't want to do.

I put the second goal on hold because another project came along that is equally important, but more time sensitive. Pre-stroke my solution to having multiple projects was to try harder and work longer. Post-stroke I don't have the stamina. Deadlines are now guidelines; stuff comes up, priorities shift.

My third goal was to re-learn how to ride a bicycle in preparation for an upcoming trip. I added training wheels to my bike and practiced pedaling at the gym. I improved, but I'm not ready. I now realize there is nothing I could have done to get the result I wanted in the timeframe allotted.

Expecting to regain a particular function within a particular period of time goes against my experience of stroke recovery. Muscles heal only so fast. Nerves grow only so fast. It's important to have goals. They get me out of bed and into action. But I need to be smart about the goals I set. When my goal is specific, I need to avoid deadlines. When there is a deadline, I need to frame the goal broadly, allowing for a variety of solutions.

The better goal for me is: By the end of June, figure out how to join my fellow travelers as they cycle through the French countryside.

Oh yeah — and, some day, learn to ride a bike … if I really want to.

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