We are all doing the best we can in the situation we find ourselves in. There are so many big decisions to make as schools shift to different models and workplaces make the changes necessary to keep us safe. If you feel like your life is out of control and you don’t know what to do next, focus on the small things that you have the most influence over.
As a running coach, I encourage my athletes to look at each race with a single goal in mind, to achieve their personal best. For a 5K, it could be to achieve your best time; for a half-marathon or marathon, that goal could be to achieve the longest distance without stopping to walk. As long as you are making progress, you can feel that hit of dopamine that comes when you reach a goal or finish a task.
If you aren’t into running, you can find other ways to set personal records. Encourage your kids to set goals for projects that are important to them. For example, if they are into video games, most systems have a way to save your highest score or furthest level and you can then try to beat that point in the game. More traditional goal setting would include things like number of books read in a month or year, or the fastest they can fold a load of laundry.
Your personal best is a good metric to track because it can give you an idea of where you are now and where you were a year ago. In business it is common to use the phrase, “Measure what you want to improve.” The same can be said of your personal life. If you want to lose weight or you want a better job, or any of these things that you can clearly envision yourself as having improved—that is the point that you want to start tracking.
If you are unhappy in your job, track for a week all of the things that frustrate you about the situation. Maybe you don’t like the tasks you are assigned or you would prefer that your boss treat you in a different way than you are being treated. Note the occasions in your workweek that elicit a strong reaction, good or bad. When you track these things for a week, or two weeks, or a month, you may start to notice patterns that you can work to shift.
Work with a mental health professional to help you achieve those things that you have been striving for and have not yet reached. We are ready to work with you on ways to cope with the stressors in your life and create a healthier, sustainable way of living.
To schedule an appointment to see me in private practice, please contact Jacksonville Center for Counseling at (904) 737-7242.