How do you guys keep going towards your goals even when it seems like things and maybe even people are working against you reaching them? What works best for you?
I just try to keep on truckin’ man. Keep finding hobbies and things for myself to do. I am two exams from graduating from uni, which is nothing unusual, bar the fact I’m 4 months off 30. I wasted a lot of my youth in a lot of respects, and I have not accelerated forward in my life. I’ve had to plod to get here, so when I see younger people doing things I wish I could do, it can be really frustrating.
I’ve tried and failed a lot with writing, art, music and video stuff, but I keep plugging away because I enjoy it, and I know the quality is there, but I am trying to juggle too much to get the consistency out. I have done a lot of free work, student journalism, and one or two paid pitches here and there which I know are successes even though they feel tiny when I see some 21 year old cutting about London with a job for a big video game site or something, or one of my younger peers lands a writing job.
Anyway, small joys are the best. Hobbies that support mindfulness (painting warhammer has done it for me) and generally trying to surround myself with things I love (I have stopped shying away from comfort listening of music) are seriously important, and in the end realising that there are hundreds of thousands of people all working towards the same things, and you aren’t the only one at the coalface is helpful too.
Also constantly reminding myself that I’m at least not a meninist fascist shitlord is good.
I’ve had my fair share of failures, but I’m gonna call what I’m about to describe “setbacks,” since I think that gets at it a little better. Either way, I understand that feeling of things working against you. Here’s my story, hopefully it’s relatable:
About 2 months short of graduating college I experienced a psychotic break brought on by a wicked bout of mania. I thought the government was watching me, that I was in a computer simulation, all that jazz.
I would ultimately be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but at the time was severely unprepared to handle being put in the back of a squad car and eventually in a state-run psychiatric hospital.
My school had a history of students having some serious incidents related to mental health, and as a way to ensure my safety (read: reduce their liability) they pushed for me to take a medical leave of absence. I’d had friends deal with similar situations in which they’d had to leave for a semester or entire year before coming back.
Since I was so close to graduating, I worked with the school through the help of my family and a few professors, and managed to make up the finals I was missing and graduated on time.
This cycle of mental health issues and unemployment repeated for the next several years, and here I am today. The idea that I had for what my life would be is fundamentally different than it was when I graduated in 2013.
BUT: Throughout the entire process I was privileged with family and friends who supported me, and I can say that they are the main reason I was able to continue on. This support may not even be people I actually talk with. Listening to podcasts felt like being among friends and helped me through my loneliness.
Like DynamicCalories said, its the small things. Doing stuff that I can hold onto in times of turmoil, like playing games, listening to and making music, etc. I’ve recently started doing yoga and that has helped me find a positive outlet for my manic energy.
You gotta find something that works for you. Talking about it (see: above) helps me externalize these problems and makes them a little more manageable. More people than you may think have setbacks like these, and that realization has been extremely helpful.
I think finding supportive groups like the fine folks here is a great resource, and if nothing else know that we are supporting you.
I make lists. I periodically do this whether things are good or bad. I start with a list of stuff I need to do to keep my basic needs met over the next day, then week, then month. Think really really simple like needing to eat or drink water. Then I start again with the same day, week, month getting a little more ambitious each time until I have some vague larger goals outlined. Then I make a schedule, cutting out stuff that doesn’t fit and giving myself plenty of time for sleep, getting ready in the morning, and downtime to just relax. Making time to relax and sticking to it is probably the hardest part for me. The most important part of this whole structure is basically to work backwards instead of starting with the big goals so as to keep each step as tiny and manageable as possible.
Reward yourself for the small successes. Be proud of yourself for like, spending ten minutes reading or some other mini goal. It helps you feel more positively about keeping up with it. It helps you celebrate the tiny milestones that slowly but surely build into something bigger.
Finally, try to keep a journal if you can. It helps make your thoughts clearer. It gives you a point of reference so you can see where you were and how you got to where you are now. Its also a good place for keeping your lists.