Today I want to share some tips for setting goals while dealing with infertility. I have always found that New Years is often harder than Christmas while in the thick of infertility. Another year passing reminds me that the main goal I have wanted for so long remains out of reach, and there is no certainty what the coming year will bring either. Combine all of this with the endless social media posts about new additions and magical goals and it is enough to make anyone feel defeated. This year, take having a baby off of your goal/resolution list. It can still be something you work for, but, we all know it is something that is out of our control, so, let's talk about setting goals that are within our control. Here are 5 keys to setting manageable resolutions:
1. Set a resolution that is WITHIN YOUR CONTROL. You cannot control the outcome of an IUI or IVF cycle, if a birth parent chooses you for placement, or winning the lottery (although if you figure this one out, let me know...). Those things are all out of your control. Shift your thinking around those goals into things that you CAN control and that fit the next 4 criteria.
2. Be SPECIFIC. You've decided to move onto adoption this year, and the tempting thing to put is "adopt a baby" but, that isn't in your control. So, you change it to "get ready to be awesome parents so a birth mom will choose us"...hmmmm...better..but not quite right. Now comes the key to step two, be SPECIFIC. Here are some examples of specific goals: schedule a consult with UIRC about adoption, attend an adoption event, learn about creating an adoption profile, create an adoption page...
3. Set a TIMELINE and WRITE IT DOWN. Now that you have your specific and controllable goals, set a time frame to achieve them. Let's start with one from our list, schedule an adoption consult. Pick a reasonable time frame for this goal, such as, by February 14th. Then, WRITE DOWN your goal on your calendar and set some reminders for yourself on your phone.
4. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP! Changes and challenges and setbacks happen. Don't throw out your goals when things don't go the way you planned, take a breath, regroup, restart. For example, let's say that you made the goal to only have dessert once a week in an effort to get healthy for IVF...but then it is your best friend's birthday, a party at work, and your period starts all in one week. And you have multiple desserts a day. Don't waste time beating yourself up, just take a breath and decide if you want to try again. If you do, just start fresh. I always channel my inner Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables..."Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it"
5. Find SUPPORT. Goals, especially ones that are life changing, and ones that are emotional (hello every infertility goal!) are best met when you have help. Utilize the support systems available. Attend one of UIRC's in person support groups, meet with a therapist (like the sliding fee scale therapists available from UIRC), talk to a friend, post your goal on social media or in our online support group. We are HERE for you and want to help you meet your goals on your family building journey.
So this week, when you are bombarded by all the things you can't do or can't control, I hope you look for the things you CAN do next year, because there are so many great goals you can set and reach in 2019. Goals that can create a better present and a better future.