Goal Setting Is an Important Strategy in Managing My Lung Disease
Last week, I wrote a column about needing to slow down as a patient living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Since its publication, I have spent a lot of time strategizing about how to do that. I am often guilty of saying I need to do something but neglecting to identify tangible steps that will enable me to follow through.
When a task is important enough, I always find a way to accomplish it. However, it can be stressful and exhausting to complete certain tasks, especially when I already feel stretched to the limit. One strategy I want to employ is goal setting, as I explore how to slow down in the coming months despite taking on an additional method of managing my lung disease.
This past week, I spent time examining my responsibilities and whether they bring me joy — a real Marie Kondo approach. The “problem” I’ve found, and I use that term loosely because it’s a great problem to have, is that almost everything I do in a week brings me joy. With the exception of mundane tasks like laundry and housework, I enjoy everything: my time with friends, career requirements, crafting opportunities, quiet time, and IPF advocacy work.
Not only do all of these responsibilities bring me joy and benefit my mental health, but some support my financial needs as well. There are many costs involved in living with a life-threatening lung disease, so I can’t drop these important sources of income.
Earlier this week, my transplant team recommended another round of pulmonary rehabilitation due to my declining lung function, and I quickly became overwhelmed by the idea of adding something else to my plate. I don’t know how to manage it all.
I regularly use goal setting in my work as a child and family therapist. Most of the support I provide to families involves helping them set and achieve both long- and short-term goals. Applying this strategy to my own life may help me manage my fatigue and the requirements of IPF, such as this next round of pulmonary rehab.
Research has shown that setting goals can result in a less chaotic, more relaxed lifestyle, which is what I’m seeking. But where do I start?
I’ve been following advice from several reputable online sources, including a 2019 article published on Lucemi Consulting’s website about how to set and achieve your goals. This process may seem simple to some, but for me, it seems like I am good at helping others reach their goals, but struggle with this skill in my own life.
One thing the article recommended was to identify your priorities, which may include financial security, physical and mental health, and family obligations. Your goals should then align with your priorities.
My pulmonary rehabilitation will directly improve my physical health, making it highly important. I must prioritize my other IPF-related responsibilities as well, such as taking medications on time, getting enough sleep, and exercising.
While setting goals for all aspects of my life seems overwhelming, I foresee this prioritization strategy enabling me to manage my lung disease more effectively. Maybe in time, when I’ve had success setting and accomplishing IPF-related goals, I can expand this strategy to help me identify where and how I can slow down.
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.