I like having a short term plan and a long term plan. A lot of times, random thoughts just fly at me. Some of these thoughts are short term stuff that I need to take care of immediately. Some are long term. But I like writing them down, in case I forget.
Your short term list should contain things that need to be taken care of from in the immediate future (e.g. in the next three months). Here are some things you can think about when creating your short term list:
– Identify what is making you feel powerless
What is it that is making you feel trapped? Maybe it is your current living situation. Maybe it is because you don’t have a job. Why can’t you escape from this trap? Maybe you need your finances to be in order. Maybe you’ve tried looking for a job but can’t seem to find anything.
– What would you like to change?
Maybe you need to move out. Maybe you need to leave a marriage that is unhappy.
– What is the one immediate thing you can do now to take that first step toward the change?
Maybe you need to look at a couple of rentals. Maybe you need to look at getting a short term gig to get some money and experience in lieu of a long term career goal. Maybe you need to do some research on divorce.
– What is the one pressing thing that definitely needs to be taken care of right now?
Maybe you need to look up new schools for your children if you are thinking of moving. Maybe you are in a dangerous situation and need to get yourself out of harm’s way right now.
– Once you’ve taken care of the immediate needs, think about some other stuff that might need to be done in order for you to comfortably settle in this change.
Maybe you need to get new furniture. Maybe you need to line up a new babysitter.
– Think about something you can do right now to make you feel good about yourself
This step is particularly important. Often when a bad situation occurs, our minds get so wrapped up in the grieving process that we get depressed. Doing one thing to make you feel good about yourself will give you a sense of optimism. Maybe it’s a new haircut. Maybe you want to get yourself something nice to wear. Maybe a nice dinner.
– Identify something about yourself that you can be proud of.
Taking a step back and reminding yourself of your achievements and the good stuff that you got going for yourself will also make you feel better. For me, it was my mental and emotional strength. Many years ago, I moved from Singapore to New York City by myself without knowing anyone in the entire country. And I thrived. So I knew that I had it in me to bounce back from this ordeal.No matter how his mistress accused me of being fat and ugly, I know that I am defined by more than just physical attributes.
As you complete the ‘tasks’ on your short term lists, check them off. Seeing that list grow shorter will give you a sense of achievement – that in the midst of this chaos, you are still able to get things done for yourself. Also, revisit the list daily and make changes as needed. Because plans will change – including short term ones 🙂