What can I do to make sure I’m stretching myself while working towards my goals, without overextending myself?
I’m not totally sure, to be honest. I do know I tend to set high, overzealous goals or too many small ones at once. For example, I went into rehab with the expectation that I was going to be able to come out ready to take the German C2 test (that’s the highest possible language certification), have finished the Node.js course I’d starts and build my first REST API, get my 5k under 20 min. You’ll notice that actually “recovering” wasn’t in there.
At first, my therapist was also down with my big goals. They were S.M.A.R.T. and genuinely seemed attainable. The first week however showed me that recovery had other plans with me. I had started running and was also in the running training program that they had at the clinic. My first 5k in years cam in at 24 min. I was very stoked about this. That was as good as I was in high school and I never really tried there. I kept it up but noticed that my left heel was hurting every morning. This got progressively worse. I finally got to an orthopedic and was diagnosed with heel spurs. No more running.
We all went through a bunch of different tests for cognitive abilities, attention span, etc... I went in and sat in front of the computer for what looked to be genuinely easy tests. I quickly changed my mind. I felt a bit like I was watching myself from the outside as I did worse and worse on these stupid tests. Why can’t I do this! Tears were welling up in my eyes, my anxiety growing, and heart rate was climbing. I was really shaken up walking out of there.
I’d never been tested for ADHD. I was asked a bunch of questions when I was twelve and that was it. I’d also stopped taking medication for it when I came to Berlin in 2003. My girlfriend who was a psychology major convinced me I didn’t need it, so I stopped.
A day or two after the tests I had my one on one with my therapist. She seemed surprised by the results of the test. I had severe concentration problems. I feel like a lot of it was the fact that my body was still adjusting to not being full of alcohol and drugs, it was a new situation that was stressful as well. I didn’t know anyone, and I was truly exhausted. But, I also finally had the diagnosis that had been missing the last 16 years in Germany. I have ADHD.
After some emotional ups and downs caused by frustration with the systems in place at the clinic, and my inability to focus on any of the goals I had set for myself, my therapist recommended that I drop everything and focus solely on my recovery. I was a little reluctant, but I knew she had a point. I need to sort this out before I can effectively do anything else.
And that’s what I did in my obsessive was. I began consuming book after book about recovery and stories of addicts who’d changed their lives. I would take time out and just sit outside and be. I hadn’t given myself space like this since I can’t remember. The 15 weeks flew by after I made the switch.
I’ve been out since December and have done a decent job of keeping up those lessons that I learned. I’m more careful about what I take on whether it be personal goals or from others. But I’m far from perfect. I decided to make a website for the German chapters of one of the recovery groups I regularly attended. I dove in headfirst, learned Gatsby and Sanity.io, both of which I’d never used before. After two weeks I had a nice informative website with a mini-blog and an updateable meetings page. But I was also burnt out. I had put in over 100 hours on that website over those two weeks. I was also leading the Sunday meeting and organizing the Inter-group meeting. I’d taken on too much again.
That’s what I need to avoid. I need to figure out a way to keep tabs on the tasks I take on during this Bootcamp. I need to prioritize my goals and make sure that anything I add to that list doesn’t detract from the main goal, finishing the Bootcamp to the absolute best of my ability.
What are my goals?
- Finish the bootcamp.
- Take quality notes every day
- Finish each assignment on time and to a high quality
- Make connections and work well with others
- Document my journey
- Post notes and projects daily on blog
- If possible, present them as lessons (can always be done later)
- If possible, translate to German (can always be done later)
- Share journey on twitter
- Make genuine interaction a priority
- Limit time to 1hr per Day
I think that’s good. By achieving those goals, I believe I will greatly increase the chances of getting a good job. That set of goals will come next.
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