Planning Your New Year’s Resolutions When You Have Bipolar Disorder
The steps you need to create and keep your bipolar resolutions.
Everyone is busy talking about their resolutions. People are losing weight, changing careers, getting married, moving to dream homes, and the list goes on endlessly. No doubt you’re thinking about your bipolar resolutions.
Goals are good. They help you focus and give you direction. But too many goals pursued at the same time can be depressing or even soul-crushing.
Planning your new year’s resolutions is especially hard if you have bipolar disorder. And even then, it depends on where you are in a bipolar cycle. If you’re manic at the start of the year, you may create a thousand resolutions. You are unstoppable, and this will be the year you do everything from writing 10 best sellers to establishing world peace.
On the flip side, if you’re on the depressive side of a bipolar cycle, you may feel all goals are impossible. You refuse to make any resolutions because today you can’t even get dressed. You’re not even sure you’ll still be alive tomorrow. Bipolar resolutions are pointless.
Is there a way to find a happy balance? Today we’re going to try.Download Your Copy
The first thing to do is to think about all the goals in your head. Grap a piece of paper or open a notes app on your phone and make your list. If a thousand ideas come tumbling out, that’s fine. Write them all down.
The next step is to go through your list and cross out all the things that are unreasonable expectations. You’re probably not going to write 10 books this year. You won’t be the one to bring about world peace. And no matter how much you flap your wings, you’re never going to fly.
Cross all the things off you know will never happen. Maybe next year you can learn to fly.
Then, go through your list again and cross off all the things you put there out of guilt. If you wrote “lose weight” on your list because you feel you should, but you know that you’re not ready to start a diet, cross it off. If you listed run a marathon but you hate running, mark that one off as well.
Let’s focus on goals that you both want to do and are possible.
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Finally, go through your list for third time, and this time circle the five things that are most important to you. Those are the five things you will focus on this year, but not all at the same time.
Instead of creating dozens of bipolar resolutions and not sticking to any of them, you’re only going to create one. Look at the five items on your final list and pick one. Write that goal on a separate piece of paper.
Having a goal is only part of the process. You also need a plan to get there. So take your goal and break it down into as many steps as you can.
Suppose your goal is to bake a chocolate cake for your best friend. Your end goal is giving your friend the cake, but before you can do that, there are steps you must complete.
Here’s what those steps might look like:
- Watch baking shows or have someone show you how to bake a cake.
- Research chocolate cake recipes.
- Make a list of ingredients
- Go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients
- Bake the cake.
- Give the cake to your friend.
Break your resolution down into its smallest pieces. Then focus on only one step at a time.
Your primary goal is the only bipolar resolution you’re allowed to work on. Focus on that goal until you achieve success.
By focusing on the small steps, things are less overwhelming. This is true no matter what goal you’re pursuing.
Many people start the new year with the resolution to be healthier. Vague goals are rarely useful. You need a specific destination and a plan to get there.
Every day as you work toward your prize, focus only on the step that’s in front of you. Take as much time as you need. You’re not in a race. When you reach the finish line, pick another goal and repeat the process.
You don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year to put a plan into motion. If you want to change your life, start today, whether it’s January 1st or September 15th.
To conquer your bipolar resolutions, follow the same process to narrow down your list to one goal, break your goal into steps, and get started on the first step.
You can improve your life, even if you’re battling bipolar disorder or another chronic illness, but you need to do it one step at a time. And when you bake that cake, I’d love a piece.
Until next time, keep fighting.