10 Tips on How to Accomplish Big Goals with Bipolar Disorder
Attempting to accomplish big goals when you have bipolar disorder can end very badly. I know this; it has happened to me. But some big tasks must get done. Sometimes we have to move halfway across the country. Sometimes we have a six-month-long project for work. Sometimes we have to raise a child. Big goals don’t go away just because a person has bipolar disorder. So here are some tips I’ve learned on how to accomplish big goals with bipolar disorder.
Accomplishing My Next Big Goal with Bipolar Disorder
My next big goal in spite of bipolar disorder is to write my next book. And writing a book is a big goal with a capital oh-my-gosh. People take years to write some books. Those are mighty big goals.
And the last time I accomplished this particular big goal, I was sent into a devastating bipolar mixed mood for months and months. It was life-threatening. The last thing I want to do is let this big goal take me with my bipolar down again.
10 Tips on Having Bipolar and How to Accomplish Big Goals
So I have a plan. I plan on using these bipolar goal-accomplishing tips:
- Setting reasonable deadlines – One of the problems with my last book is that I gave myself unrealistic deadlines. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was, and when I figured that out, I did not adjust things accordingly.
- Setting a reasonable pace – Again, I thought my last book would, reasonably, be a sprint and I should have treated it more like a marathon. It’s no good burning yourself out on mile six when you still have 20.2 miles more to go.
- Breaking things into manageable chunks – I talk about “chunking” tasks and time a lot. All it means is breaking down the big goal into a million little goals that are much more reasonable. No one sits down and writes a book from page one to page done in one sitting. That’s not how it works. You write a bit here and a bit there. You write part of chapter one and then part of chapter six. You delete all of chapter four and then merge together seven and 10 – you get the idea. And each of these steps is a goal in and of its own right. And each of those goals should be broken down further.
- Setting daily, weekly and monthly goals – Like I said, writing a book is a big goal and I need to find the motivation to keep working on it (particularly seeing as bipolar depression sucks the motivation right out of me). Setting time-related goals sometimes helps me to do that. If you’re stuck working on chapter two for weeks, it might feel like you’re not getting anything done. But if you set a goal every day of getting down one idea, or writing X number of words, or some other daily goal, you can see really you are making progress even if it is (painfully) slow. Those daily goals add up to weekly goals which add up to monthly goals which, eventually, will take me to my end goal. By seeing the progress this way, I’m more likely to feel successful and more likely to keep going.
- Not beating myself up for slippage – I know that deadlines and goals sometimes slip. Things come up, you aren’t well, people drop in from out-of-town, etc. This is okay. The secret is not to let these slips make me feel bad or defeated. After all, I set my own goals and I can adjust them to fit the circumstances in which I find myself at any time.
- Not letting myself off the hook – I know this sounds like the opposite of number five, but really these two go hand in hand. I have to not beat myself up when something immovable, well, can’t be moved, but I also have to hold myself accountable to keep moving forward even if it is just by inches a day. I will accept tiny progress but I don’t want zero progress in a week at all.
- Rewarding myself – Carrots are vastly preferable to sticks. Instead of focusing on what isn’t going well with the book, I can celebrate what is going well. This is a mindset that’s hard to achieve when you’re depressed, but it’s a psychological exercise you need to do anyway in order to achieve that big goal when you have bipolar disorder.
- Getting more help – Last time I wrote a book I did almost every single thing myself, right down to deciding on the font, layout and copyright verbiage. There are reasons why I did this, but what I learned is that I need more help and I need more help earlier.
- Taking breaks – Goals are great and working towards them matters, but so does taking breaks. I can’t think about a book every minute of every day. That’s not going to be good for my brain and it’s going to make doing everything else in my life harder. Breaks from the book to do other work, spend time with loved ones and so on are really important.
- Caring for myself – Self-care is important for everyone but it’s particularly important if you’re in the middle of a marathon. Marathon runners know what they need – good shoes, water along the way and so on. I need to know what this is for me, too.
And those are just the top 10 tips. In short, I’m facing accomplishing a big goal with bipolar disorder with some gravitas and respect this time. I’m not winging it. I’m putting my health first. Because if I don’t survive writing book two, there will be no book three.
Tracy, N. (2018, March 31). 10 Tips on How to Accomplish Big Goals with Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2018/03/10-tips-on-how-to-accomplish-big-goals-with-bipolar-disorder
Author: Natasha Tracy
Thank you for this!! I’m feeling overwhelmed currently over a big new project. Small goals, several of them sound like a great plan ?
I absolutely love these goals. The idea of breaking things down into manageable chunks and setting on going daily, weekly, monthly goals, can be so empowering. Not getting down on yourself when you slip is huge. We are all human, we are all on a journey and it is a process. We have to set ourselves up for success and these are fantastic steps to take. Good luck with your book!