Tuesday, February 10, 2009


A friend of mine wrote me an e-mail today and asked me questions about goals. Do I have any? Where do you find them? And should she be worried if she doesn't really have any? The questions were prompted by another friend of hers, who asked her what her goals were.

We all have goals whether they're vocalized or not. Sometimes they're little ones: getting the bathtub scrubbed on the weekend, getting the laundry done, getting through dinner time without fighting with the toddler not eating their vegetables. Sometimes our goals are a little more abstract: to lead a productive life, to make friends, to be a difference in our world. Sometimes they are long term: losing a bunch of weight, getting into better shape, finding a cure for the common cold.

I never really thought about my goals too much until today.

I have a bunch of little goals, some of which are long term. My main life goal, though, is to keep working to save money for retirement or disability, whichever comes first. I don't expect the government to be able to look after me and the Wookie is not independently wealthy, so that avenue is out, too. (I don't expect the Wookie to look after me either)

So, in order to keep on working, I have to remain healthy. I have to keep my mind healthy. I have to keep listeners tuned in so my bosses want to keep me as an employee.

To remain healthy, I have adjusted my eating and exercise habits. I read and learn something new every day.

To keep listeners tuned in...well, that's top secret.

My point is that there are a bunch of little goals that make up the bigger ones. And it's not necessarily something that I consciously think about. I enjoy watching those "Clean Sweep" type shows with folks who own a house filled with stuff that they absolutely HAVE to get rid of in order to lead a normal life. The experts tell them all, start small so the job of cleaning out the house isn't so overwhelming. Clean out a cupboard first, then work your way up to a closet, then a room, etc. Same thing goes with goals. Start out small and work your way up or look at the big goal and break it down into little ones.

All these things can be applied to MS. If you look at the mandate of the MS Society of Canada, you'll see what I mean: "To be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life."

In order to find a cure for MS, we must know what causes MS. The MS Society is funding research into effective treatments and possible causes of MS. They were major contributors to the recent Vitamin D study. By researching the current and future treatments and discovering what works and what doesn't and for what types of MS we are getting closer to the answers. The big goal may be to find a cure for MS, but the smaller goal that comes before that is to discover what causes MS.

Because so many people already are living with MS we must provide support to them. That means discovering what they need in terms of education, psycho-social support, and medical support. And that means asking questions of them in the form of questionnaires, studying what sometimes seems to be no-brainer type subjects in order to provide "evidence based data", and then asking them again what works for them. If the goal is to enhance their quality of life, we have to know what things will do that. Is it a night out bowling with other MSers every month, self help meetings, equipment for getting into and out of bed, or referrals to government programs for help?

To find a cure. That's a lofty goal that almost seems unattainable until you break it down.

Enhance quality of life. That one is a lot easier to attain when you break it down to what you need.

Of course, I want those goals attained NOW, but that's the 3 year old inside of me. The adult in me understands the process of finding a cure. I never thought about it until 11 years ago. Now it is the ultimate goal of my life.



Denver Refashionista said...

This was a very interesting post. I too have been thinking about goals. Actually I have been wondering why I don't have a "bucket list." In other words, a list of things I want to do before I die. I don't know if it's weird that I can't think of much...


I like goals, too. But maybe only the ones which seem attainable.

I had a rheumatologist appointment today and was "chewed out" for not having made progress towards a goal of losing weight. She also wants me to work up to working out an hour every day.

I've just been thrilled that I've worked up to a goal of being able to ride the recumbent bike at PT for 5 minutes/rest/5 minutes and still be able to walk across the room without tripping.

Our goals are rather different at this point.

Shauna said...

I don't have a bucket list, though I do have things I'd like to see or try. Not many though, as I find interest in the most banal things. A bug, piece of lint......

All goals have one thing in common. They all begin with a single step. Each successful step should be celebrated. So whoo hoo!! for you on being able to walk across the room without tripping. It's a start.


steve said...

I had a goal once upon a time to live fast and die with my boots on, preferable before cage 40. Well that's long past. Now my goal is to enjoy every day, every minute, every second, etc. I always tell everyone I work with that every day above ground is a good day. One goal I do have is to make amends with all the good people I have pissed off over the years...and there are many. One day I may actually achieve that one. Meanwhile I shall encourage everyone I can to enjoy themselves and lend support wherever I can.

A lofty goal, yet still attainable.


Shauna said...

Glad you changed your goal....



She shoots, she SCORES!

(In other words, great post)