Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Feeling the success of setting goals with autoimmune disease
Setting goals with an unpredictable level of energy and functioning may feel like an exercise in frustration. How can I even think about a bucket list when I'm just dealing with getting off the couch? Won't imagining what I don't have now just cause me to become disappointed and depressed?
The things that we need to do in order to change our health requires a great deal of change in lifestyle. It means becoming intimately aware of the likely ingredients of almost every food out there, journaling your food and reactions, habits, sleep patterns. It means being the only one at a party who isn't eating the food because you know what is in it and what it will do to you if you do eat it. It means that you say goodnight early while the rest of your friends and family are just getting started. It means passing on foods that are an integral part of our social and emotional lives like Christmas treats, birthday cake, and in my case, foods that signal that it is time to relax and take it easy. Researching, food prepping, explaining, managing...it all takes a great amount of effort. We need to be able to remember why we are doing this. Hope is a huge part of that.
I keep a picture of a person doing a Peter Pan off the edge of a cliff. I realize that this could mean fear and death to another person, but to me...I am there. I can feel the gravel beneath my feet as I run to the edge. I feel my heart pounding, living in my chest, and it beats harder and faster as I run. I feel my muscles tense...ready...and JUMP! as I throw my arms out and feel the earth leave my feet. I feel the pull of gravity leave in a moment of suspended weightlessness, my stomach leaves me, and the feeling in my chest reminds me of the carbonation I see when I open a Sprite. I throw out my arms and let out a whoop of pure, sheer joy as I experience a brief moment of flight.
To me, this is what freedom feels like. It's that carbonation in my chest, my muscles strong, the ability to dive into fear and come out shouting in joy. It's why I do almost everything I do. I love to be free.
When I am caught up in the management of an autoimmune disorder, the food prepping, the planning, the studying, the decisions to let some things go, I know exactly why it is worth it to me. I have a goal to be free to do the things that bring LIFE to my life.
Dare to set goals. Dare to set them differently than you have in the past. Dare to believe that you can find a way. Dare to believe that it is possible.
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