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Goal Setting to Manage Anxiety

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Is Goal Setting just a Hype?

Throughout my life, I heard people carrying on about goal setting. In my early, formative years, I never really listened to all the details and strategies about how to work through this obviously simple task. You set a goal, then you achieve it. What was so hard about that? To me, back then, the hype was due to people wanting to make money off of, yet another downloadable tape (that is how programs were delivered to the client in those wagon wheel days, via a cassette tape – usually in a series). I had goals. I wanted to be a good wife and a great mother. Boom, done by age 19. Then I wanted a job where I could be with my children all day. Boom, done by 21. I started a day care center. Then I wanted to get a college education. When both my kids were in school all day, Boom, I sold my daycare center, paid all my debt off, put some in savings and started college full time at age 25 making straight A’s. What’s the big deal?

Goal Setting Helped me Climb Out of Hell

My junior year in college, I learned what the big deal was. My anxiety was out of control. I got real burn out from college – yes, it is a REAL thing. Burn out is something like a cousin to a nervous breakdown. Within six months, I was in divorce court, dropped out of college, couldn’t take care of my kids and my life spiraled out of control. Goals became a simple intent of “do I want to get out of bed today” and most days that was a big, fat, “NO”. Bed was just as good a place as any to listen to the dozens of cassette tape series I purchased to help me as I saw myself circling the drain. In addition to the books I bought, I also had friends and family members dropping off resources to navigate through. I bought programs on relationships, stress management, and dealing with anxiety. I purchased Lead the Field, numerous motivational programs and every Zig Ziglar program known to man. I started with “Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson. This was the first author I had listened to that admitted she was a real mess, just like me, when she was younger. I wanted to know how she climbed out of Hell and she told me. It took time, but I eventually found my way back. Most of the time, it was 2 steps forward and 1 step back but that is called progress. It took me 17 years to earn my 4-year degree, but I eventually received it. I then turned around and whipped out a M.B.A. in one year; of course, that was being a full-time student with no sleep or outside activities, but I had a goal and by gosh I was going to achieve it, being careful not to fall back in to burn out. This time, I did it the right way, with intention, focus and doable steps always making time and love for myself or my husband when needed.

It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise. - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Understanding Goal Setting

In Lead the Field, Earl Nightingale talks about the $25,000 idea and I was truly intrigued. This was my first lesson in goal setting. After Ivy Lee and Charles Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel, discussed productivity, Schwab stated that he would pay a reasonable price for a system that would help him get the work done that he already knew needed to be done. It was not the “what” but the “how” that Schwab was missing, he explained to Lee. Lee told him to take out a piece of paper and list 6 things he wanted to get done the next day. Next, Schwab was told to number the items in the importance of their getting completed. Lee told Schwab to focus on the first task until it was done and then go on to the second task. If all the tasks did not get done, that is OK because if they all did not get done on this plan, the tasks would not have been completed under any plan. Lee told Schwab that if he thought the idea was worth anything, to send him a check for what he thought the idea was worth. Several weeks later Lee received a check for $25,000. Since then, hundreds, if not thousands, of goal setting and planner organization techniques are available to assist people in their day, to get more tasks accomplished and in more efficient ways. Coach Delisa even has joined this group of authors with my spin on a system that works best for me. This project is in the works now. The key is not so much “which system” to use. The key is to go from an unintentional, mediocre lifestyle to a focused, thought out, goal-oriented perspective.

Successful people do things that the average person is not willing to do. They make sacrifices the average person is not willing to make. But the difference it makes is extraordinary. - Brian Tracy

Goal Setting to Manage Anxiety

Goal setting is a tool that can be a vital difference between being successful and not trying anything worthy at all. Of course, we do need to consider the definition of success. The dictionary defines success as the favorable or desired outcome of which intentional effort is directed. Goal setting is an especially necessary tool when you have anxiety and you want to learn to manage your anxiety. It helps you stay on or near track when all the anxiety demons are telling you to throw caution to the wind and just give into the frustration. When you give into temptation or quit consciously managing your anxiety, you become someone no one wants to be around, including yourself. If you mix addictions, unhealthy relationships or anger into the mix, you are destined for shear misery. The odd thing is, that if you don’t set goals, all too often you find yourself at the middle of the anxiety merry go round not even realizing how you got there. Anxiety only gets worse from there.

How do you Start Goal Setting

The question becomes, where do you start? I would start by asking myself if I want to put the hard work into learning to manage anxiety. It is a simple question and even a simple goal, but it is most certainly not an easy goal. I can tell you from experience that it is a goal definitely worth working toward achieving. If the answer is an unequivocal, YES, then your next step is to find where your journey starts. Everyone’s journey is different as everyone’s anxiety disorder is different. Began talking to people in anxiety social media groups. Read articles, watch videos, journalize your thoughts and feelings. Go to my website, and look around. There are endless resources and information regarding my own personal anxiety management journey. You can call or email me to talk about coaching. The main thing is to #GetMoving. God tells us He will provide the solutions, but we have to do the footwork. So #GetMoving. Once you decide to work toward a goal with intent, the journey literally unfolds right before your eyes. The right people show up in your life. The right opportunities become available. The resources you need suddenly appear. Try it if you don’t believe me. Ask others who have set goals and achieved them. It truly is an amazing phenomenon.

Many years my friend, many years....

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