How I Stopped Setting Myself Up for Failure

Life with psoriatic arthritis is always changing. Yet, for many years, I insisted on creating goals and schedules that were so out of reach or rigid that they became impossible to keep. Tired of always failing to reach my goals or keep a routine, I had to make some changes.

Getting real

The first thing I had to do was get real. For every goal I set or plan I make, I ask myself if it is realistic. For example, two years ago I couldn’t have planned to be on the go for an entire vacation. Back then, my reality was being lucky to spend one or two full days out of my hotel room. While I was recently able to spend eight full days on the go, I didn’t know if it was a possibility ahead of time and scheduled a couple of down days just in case. In regards to exercising, I knew that as much as I would have liked to start out by walking several miles a day, it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Instead, I started by walking for five minutes a day, a few days a week.

Keeping track

Whenever I feel frustrated I tend to forget how far I have come. To remind myself, I track my progress in a journal. Each time I go out, exercise, etc., I record it in my journal. I may be able to lie to myself and convince myself to give up, but I can’t deny what is written in my journal. Journaling also helps me see how long it took to recover from an outing or activity, which helps me with future scheduling.


Every so often I evaluate my progress and see if I need to reevaluate my goals. Sometimes all it takes is finding new ways to perform them to continue on, while other times I may need to reduce my expectations. I increase my goals whenever I see and feel that reaching them has become easy. Each time I increased them, I did so only by a little bit. After walking five minutes a few days a week became easy, I began doing it daily. Then when I was able to that without increasing my pain I increased it to ten minutes. After experiencing an injury (not related to walking), I had to start all over, but over time I was able to reach the point of where I am today which is walking a minimum of four miles every day. When I find myself feeling overly fatigued and can’t blame it on something out of my control like the weather, I look at how much I have been doing and cut back on my commitments until I am able to increase them again.

What do you consider when setting goals?

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