People who struggle with anxiety often live their life in a “Going-Stopping-Going” cycles. If you are anxious too, you probably know this too well.
The way it works is, basically, you might feel wonderful when everything in your life is OK and things are going well. You live your life to the fullest, you set your goals and work on them, you move forward like you’re on a rocket fuel… But once something bad happens, it suddenly stops.
You can’t focus on it anymore and the only thing you can concentrate on is your problem. It devastates you and makes everything feel meaningless. Nothing else matters anymore.
Here’s a common example – life is going great, your anxiety is barely there and you decide that it’s time to get healthy and lose weight. You get excited, start with a wonderful motivation, go hard on those workouts, eat healthy every day and keep doing that with a burning passion – “This time I’m REALLY doing this” – you think.
You proudly say NO to grandma’s butter cookies, you wake up earlier to do some yoga, you chug that water and prep those smoothies, quinoa becomes your second name and you are finally proud of yourself because your clothes are starting to feel lose.
And then one day, *something* happens.
You get into a conflict with your boss. You find that out you have a financial problem. Someone in your family gets sick. Or you get sick. Or your dog.
Maybe your car broke down. Or you broke up with your boyfriend. Or winter came – it might be anything.
Bad mood and anxiety kick in and all those weight loss goals don’t matter anymore. They start to seem so trivial right now.
You don’t have the energy to do those workouts anymore – and you don’t even want to. You just want to cuddle in your bed and eat your favorite foods until it all passes…
And, of course, once the problem is resolved, you start to feel better. But then you have to deal with the guilt of letting go and wasting all those weight loss efforts you put in before. The weight is back and you have to start over.
Because something happened and anxiety made you paralyzed.
Now, this is just an example of weight loss, but this can happen with any other goal too. I personally used to struggle with the goal of staying social. I always knew that it’s healthy for me to meet people and talk, at least once a week. It’s wonderful for my mental health and it keeps me from getting too socially awkward.
But there were times when life was very problematic and I was so anxious, for such a long time, that I didn’t want to see or even talk to people for months. And the more I hid, the more my anxiety grew because I started to feel pressure from people who worried about me + I couldn’t keep up with basic social tasks, like talking on the phone.
Once things got better, I strived to be more social again, but the damage of hiding for months has made a lot of my relationships harder. People didn’t trust me anymore.
What To Do If Anxiety Keeps Interfering With Your Goals
First thing I want to say is that it doesn’t matter what your goals are. And it doesn’t matter how problematic your life is. There is a way to keep achieving your goals, even if you have this “Going-Stopping-Going” tendency in your life.
Here’s how you can work on your dreams without fearing that *something* will happen and you will abandon your goal again.
1) Accept That Problems + Anxiety Might Happen
It’s easy to get lost in the illusion that “things are going to be ok from now on”, especially if you’re an anxious person and you just solved a huge problem.
But the reality of life is a little different. Things will go bad from time to time. You’re not living in the incubator and things like problems, sickness, accidents – they will happen sometimes.
You have to be OK with that thought.
If you just started to work on your goal, expect that some roadblock might appear on the way. Life might happen, but it is fine.
Even if it will stop you from working on your goal for some time – it’s still fine, but you should think of it as a pause in your goal achievement process, not the end of it.
You can also try to make those anxiety episodes less frequent. For example, a simple habit of daily journaling and expressing your thoughts on the paper can help build your resilience and make you stronger.
This way, you can prevent some of the anxiety episodes from happening in the first place.
If you don’t know where to start with journaling, you can try my printable anti-anxiety workbooks that are designed to help you overcome anxious feelings and teach you to analyze and reshape your thoughts to something helpful:
2) Give Your 100% When Things Are OK
That being said, if problems and temporary stops are unavoidable, the best thing you can do is to give all that you’ve got when things are OK.
Even if you have a tendency to get so anxious that it stops you from fully functioning in life, strive to do everything you can while you’re fine.
Solve or wait out that thing that is stressing you out and start working on your goal again. Even if you have to start from scratch, there’s no other way to achieve what you want than just working on it. If you keep doing it, even with pauses, you will get closer and closer to your goal.
For example, if you want to lose weight, make use of the “good days” and be more active, eat healthier and sleep more while everything is OK and your anxiety is minimal.
If something happens and you feel anxiety taking over you, stop, wait it out, let it pass and then get back to being active and eating healthy again.
Don’t abandon your goal just because you took a pause – make it up for it as soon as you can.
3) Help Yourself To Get Back On Track Fast
The sooner you can get back to your regular, “less-anxious” self, the sooner you’re able to continue working on your goals and just feel better overall.
This is why you should always work on your anxiety and help yourself process hard feelings and negative emotions. Hiding from them usually just prolongs them.
If a problem in your life set your anxiety on fire, don’t just hide under your blanket and feel sorry for yourself. Help yourself get through it.
You can do a lot of things to minimize your anxiety – meditation, journaling, walking in nature, talking to someone, self-care – these things are your best friends in hard times.
You can learn more about it all in my other articles:
- How To Journal For Therapy At Home
- 30 Ways To Calm Down Your Mind
- 5 Ways To Deal With Anxiety Naturally
- 3 Powerful Mind Shifts That Heal Anxiety For Life
- How To Stop Anxiety From Ruining Your Life
- The Power Of Anxiety Journal + Where to Get One ASAP
- 50 Delightful Self Care Ideas That Will Make You Feel Renewed
- How To Stop Overthinking In Three Easy Steps
And if none of that helps, there’s always an option to talk to a therapist about your struggles.
If anxiety keeps interfering with your life goals, don’t beat yourself up for this. Don’t be mad at yourself and don’t think that having a pause on your goal means you should drop it.
Instead, be ok with the fact that anxious times can happen, help yourself to go through them easier with self-help techniques. And then, once you feel ready again – go after your goal with all of your effort and all of your heart. Give your 100% whenever you can.
Remind yourself that you wanted this, and you will probably still want this a year later. Your life does not stop, even if there’s a stressful thing or situation going on. Neither should you stop working on what you want.
Stay focused and don’t let anxiety consume your dreams.