Goals give you a concrete way to make progress on your caregiving journey. If you haven’t set goals before, try some of these suggestions…
Determine Where You Want to Be
You can’t set a goal unless you know where you’re trying to go with that goal. So take a few moments and look at what you’re trying to achieve with this goal and what you want it to accomplish. The fuzzier you are about where you want to end up, the more wishy-washy your goals are going to be.
Get Specific with Your Goals
Once you have a handle on your goal, you have to get really specific with it. The reason for this is that if your goal lacks specifics, you won’t know if you’ve achieved it or not. Sit down with a pencil and paper if you’re not sure how specific your goal is. Write out the goal and then circle the concrete parts of that goal. For example, helping your elderly family member eat healthier is the beginning of a goal. A more specific goal involves incorporating a specific number of servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Put Plans in Place to Help You Meet Those Goals
Now that you’ve got your goal as specific as possible, what do you need to do to achieve that goal? You might need to start looking for recipes or make a list of the fruits and vegetables that your senior enjoys eating. Figure out how often you’ll need to shop for the groceries you’ll need. When you miss parts of the plan, it’s more difficult to achieve your goals.
Goals always have an obstacle or two. Unfortunately, that is just how it goes. If you can start to anticipate those obstacles you can do something about them before they stop you in your tracks. If your elderly family member doesn’t want to mess with cooking more vegetables and fruits, perhaps having elder care providers come in and help with meal preparation when you can’t, might be a workaround.
Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust Your Goals
Sometimes you set a goal and it’s just not the right goal for where the situation stands at the moment. For instance, maybe you want to add five servings of fruits and vegetables to your senior’s diet every day, but she hates most fruits and vegetables. Shooting for five servings right out of the gate might be a bit much. Modifying your initial goal to two servings per day might help her to get used to eating more fruits and vegetables. From there, you can increase the number in a future goal.
If you’re not already setting goals, try setting some small ones and get into the practice of setting and achieving goals. Yours might involve starting or stopping certain habits or even helping your elderly family member to meet a specific goal.