Coping Skills, Positives

Structure! Today’s Accomplishments and Tomorrow’s Goals

This is a thing that helps me to add some structure to my days and life when I’m lost and kinda depressed.

I’ve been using these Today’s Accomplishments / Tomorrow’s Goals sheets recently, and they’ve been helpful. I recently moved out of my college dorm and am back at home with my family. Online classes haven’t started yet, so I don’t have much to do, and I can’t go anywhere or see people. So, filling out these sheets at the end of the day has been helping me to stay focused and do things. Doing things makes me feel better. Waking up to a plan for the day makes me want to get out of bed.

 

Today Tomorrow checklist
Today’s Accomplishments Tomorrow’s Goals

 

On the left side, I write what I accomplished that day! It’s often “little” things and big things: ate breakfast, called my friend, took a shower, emailed my doctor, unpacked my clothes. If something was especially hard, like getting out of bed or eating a meal, I’ll make sure to write that down and give myself credit for it, too. 🙂

Then I can also write some good things about the day at the bottom! “I’m grateful for my friend calling me, I’m proud of figuring out how to do therapy over Zoom, I saw beauty in the sunset, I am responsible, prepared, and caring.”

On the right side, I write out what things I want to do the next day. Unpack the rest of my clothes, take vitamins, eat 3 good meals, go for a walk, do yoga, start homework for x class, plant pole beans, etc.

Then I say what, among those things, is my priority (e.g. unpacking and eating 3 good meals) and how these expectations look (are they reasonable? a stretch? do-able?). These steps are especially useful when I have lots of things to do and it’s just not possible to do it all. In that case, I can state what my priority is and plan which things I won’t do in advance, instead of realizing at the last minute that I can’t do everything and panicking.

I also write something that will be true no matter what happens (e.g. I’m at home). This gives me at least one thing to count on when I’m not sure what else I can rely on. And then I write what I’m looking forward to! 🙂 If I’m not looking forward to anything, then I try to go back and add something good to my to-do list. 🙂

I’ve been using these off and on since middle school (!) as I’ve needed them. I’ve improved them over the years, adding the positive parts to fill in at the bottoms. I find that they are good at getting me back on track.

If you are also cooped up in one place, out of school or a job, feeling unmotivated or depressed, or in many other situations, maybe this could help add structure and positive things! 🙂

You can open the pdf file here. I print them out double-sided and cut them up so that I can get four accomplishments/goals out of one piece of paper. (Today I am proud of figuring out how to add a pdf to wordpress haha because that’s something that I’ve been meaning to learn how to do for a while!)

Wishing everyone the best ❤

Affirmations

Affirmation #12 — I can remember AND stay in the present

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I can REMEMBER and stay in the PRESENT.


As part of the prolonged exposure therapy I’ve been doing, I do imaginal exposures, which involve talking through a traumatic memory. I tend to dissociate when talking or thinking about the trauma, so it’s sometimes hard for me to continue thinking about the memory because my mind goes blank with dissociation. However, I need to engage with the memory in order for the memory to make me less scared in the future, so I can’t just block it out. I have to balance not dissociating (by grounding myself in the present moment) and remembering the memory (which brings me a little to the past).

This affirmation is to remind me that it is possible to do this. It is possible to remember without having a flashback or dissociating. I can remember non-traumatic events and still know where I am in the present. With time and hard work in treatment, I am gradually able to do the same with traumatic memories.

Affirmations

Affirmation #10 — Good AND Bad

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There are good days AND bad days. Keep going, and you’ll find both.

When I’m not doing well, it sometimes seems like these bad things are all that have ever existed and all that will ever exist. But that’s not true! Good days will come again.

Conversely, sometimes when I’m doing well, I think that I’m finally at an idealized “better” place and that my life will be perfect from now on. That’s not true either. There will always be hard times, easier times, neutral times, happier times, sadder times, etc., throughout life. When I expect things to be more perfect than is realistic, it a) makes me stressed about the good times ending because I know deeper down that I won’t be able to keep up with these expectations, and b) makes me crash harder when I start to feel worse again.

Reminding myself of the duality and accepting both the good and the bad helps me to keep a more balanced perspective.

Affirmations

Affirmation #8 — I’m a survivor

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It says:

 

I’m a survivor

I don’t won’t give up

I will survive

Keep on surviving

I am strong enough to handle this

Life is still worth living even when there’s pain

I am going through a rough time, and I will make it through

I will get back up again

Not giving up today

I know that I’m really really really gonna be okay

 


Credits/citations: The first four lines are from the song “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. Those aren’t quite the lyrics because I misheard them, but I like them. “Life is still worth living even when there’s pain” is a line from the radical acceptance part of my DBT handbook, DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, second edition, by Marsha M. Linehan. The last three lines are from different parts of the the song “Get Back Up Again” from the movie “Trolls.”