7 Truths About Goals, Plans & Lists

Most people think setting goals and priorities is easy, natural, and is all that it takes to reach goals and succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not everyone knows how to do it - and not everyone WANTS to. But, to recover and manage a condition like OI requires just a few goals and realistic planning. First - we need to address the myths and truths.

#1 - Not everyone knows how to make goals and develop a plan for how to reach them.

This is not a "natural" talent". Some are better at it. Some things are easier to make plans and succeed, especially when someone else has laid out a general plan. An example of a 'premade' plan is the using the school system to get an education to become a doctor or lawyer.

Many people who are 'left-brain' thinkers are pretty good at it. That's what 'left-brain' thinking is about - going from A to B, in a straight line. For many of the rest of us, there seem to be more curves, side roads, and squiggly paths that get in the way


#2 - Making lists is not the same as having a plan.

Lists are ideas about what to do. They don't happen in any order. They usually not enough to get you to where you want to be. They can get too long - take too much time or you do the easy ones and skip the hard ones that might have to be done first! They usually just get thrown away when they get too long or too messy.


#3 - Not everyone knows how to make goals & develop plans that are specific & realistic.

The goal needs to be specific. General goals don't tell you - your body and your mind - what you want it to focus on.

Example: "I want to lead a normal life" . This is a general goal, not very specific.
                  To make it specific, you need to describe what 'normal' means to you. Be specific.
                         "I want to be able to go shopping for 1 hour without getting dizzy or needing to sit down."
                         "I want to go to a 1 hour drawing class on November 10."


#4 - Having a good goal doesn't matter if it is not realistic.

That means it has to be something you can really get to. It has to match your skills and ability -starting with where you are today! It has to be realistic for you.


#5 - Having a realistic goal won't work if the timeline is not realistic.

If you set the time to reach your milestones based on what you think you "should" do or "want" to do, it won't work. It has to match what you "can" do. You need to start with where you are today, what your body can do, how long it takes to do things at the speed you can realistically do without putting yourself into a flare-up or crashing totally.


#6 - A goal and the plan to reach it cannot be 'carved in stone'; it has to be a 'living' plan.

Something carved in stone does not change, no matter what happens in real life. A realistic goal and plan has to be "living" - that means it gets adjusted when things happen in life.

Example: If you want to be able to do 1 minute of recumbent biking in 2 weeks but you get a cold and can't do any exercising for a week, the "plan and the dates' need to be adjusted. If you think it will take 2 weeks to get to 1 minutes, then you have to count ahead 2 weeks from the day you recover from the cold and can start your biking again.

#7 - It is possible to learn how to set realistic goals and realistic plans AND to succeed in getting where you want to be.

In real life, the trial-and-error approach works better. Also, breaking to goal down into smaller parts - 'chunk it down' or as he says in The Pacifier - "we'll take this mountain 1 inch at a time". And also figuring out when and where they succeeded in the past and using that to create plan for today. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

In this section, we will be addressing setting realistic goals and making realistic plans, and all the things that go with it to make sure you are successful. We will also be offering classes and support to make sure you start and succeed!

In industry, manufacturing and other businesses, they have studied how to make improvements in what they do. They break it down into parts and have a plan for how they approach things.They have one major goal and then break it down into steps and 'mini-goals'. They focus on the first 'mini-goal'. They make a plan to reach the 'mini-goal'; they try something, see if it works, modify the plan and try the new plan. They do this over and over until they get what they are looking for. It's called the PDCA approach. Learn more about it here - Plan - Do - Check - Act.


Authors NoteAuthors's Note:  We will be expanding this whole section in the coming days and weeks. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be alerted when more is posted.



Author: Kay E. Jewell, MD
Page Last Updated: August 21, 2012

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is presented as an educational resource for you and your healing team. It is not intended to substitute for medical or other advice. Please consult your physician or other health care professional regarding your symptoms, your medical needs and the appropriateness of information for you and your situation. KEJ

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The Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) Center by Kay E. Jewell, MD is Open Access, licensed under a Creative Commons License.
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