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Goals Pt 1

Posted 22nd February 2009 at 20:06 by acidcasual

I'm going to talk briefly about goal setting and how by clarifying your aims you develop a clear picture of where you want to be and can develop a plan of how to get there. So what's goal setting got to do with social anxiety? Before I answer that question I am just going to talk a little bit about where I was, where I am now and how long it took me to clarify my own aims. Up until four years ago I had basically muddled through life in no particular direction. I took stock of myself at that time and came to the conclusion that I had no skills to speak of, very little experience and had very little to offer the world. I was battling depression yet again and felt worthless as a human being.

I was sick and tired of feeling the way I was feeling, and also fed up with feeling sorry for myself. It seemed that most of my life had been spent at rock bottom and I had had enough. I was nearly 40 and my life hadn't amounted to anything. I came to a decision that I had to do something to get my life sorted. I didn't know what I wanted to do, or even if I had to wherewithal to do or learn anything. In fact I was so riddled with self doubt that I didn't even feel that I would be able to learn. But I knew I had to do something, anything to stop feeling the way I was feeling. Despite many attempts by caring individuals to convince me that I wasn't a useless bag of shit, I knew at my core that I was. So rather than fighting the feeling and trying to convince myself otherwise, which up to now had just led to to an internal struggle and constant pointless internal debate, I decided to accept that I was a worthless sack of shit. Having accepted that I asked myself the question "what can I do in order to not be this blight on humanity?"

So I thought about things that I wished I knew something about and about what few interests I had. Not much really came to mind and those things that did seemed too big, too vast. I thought "I'll never be able to learn all that. My self doubt coupled with the size and scope of the task just made me feel worse. I thought "How can I learn all that? I don't even know how to learn."

I'd gotten hold of a motivation and goals book but it was too much for me. How can you be motivated and set goals if you don't really know what you want and don't feel you have the capability to achieve any goals you set? And what's a realistic time frame anyway? Besides I wasn't getting any younger. I was stumped.

Something from the book did strike a nerve though, and that was the statement; "If you have a challenge you just need to develop a skill." So what was my challenge? I thought about it and came to the conclusion that before I could even think about doing something I needed to learn how to learn. So I went right back to basics and got myself a book on study skills and sat down with it for the next six months. My concentration was terrible due to the depression and I could only take in a couple of pages at a time at first, but I persevered.

I read it from cover to cover several times. Made notes which I keep in a folder and I would go over these notes even single day. Now I just go over my notes every month or so. I soon discovered that I'm not a quick learner but I'd made a committment to get this nailed, besides I'd got nothing better to do. The alternative was to keep beating myself up for being clueless and that didn't hold any appeal anymore, at least working on the book provided some distraction. Having completed the book and drilled at least parts of it into my mind, I was ready for something else.

I still didn't know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life but now, after studying how to learn, learning something new didn't seem quite so daunting. Learning wouldn't be easy for me. It would still be a mammoth undertaking but I had picked up a few skills now. I looked around for some courses to go on. I thought about what might interest me. I had no particular goal in mind. I just thought I'd see if I could do a course with the only aim being to complete it. I'd started lots of things in the past but my depression and\or social anxiety had always led me to quit when the going got tough and then rationalise to myself that I probably wasn't cut out for that particular endeavour anyway. I made a commitment to myself that this time I wasn't going to quit. I decided to do a counselling course. Not only could I learn something but I would be able to relate it to my own experiences. It wasn't an easy ride and I did think about quitting several times but I completed level 2 eventually.
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