The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Goal-setting

No. 109: Create Something Simple to Have Faith in

This week, in order to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

… I will practice coping with uncertainty by creating a simple vision for the future that I can have faith in achieving and then reminding myself of it on a regular basis.

First of all, I will think of the simple things I would like to see in my future. I will make sure I think of positive and realistic things, that I could have faith in achieving or maintaining if I put my mind to it. I could list things like being close to my family, a safe place to live, regular healthy meals or a daily routine I enjoy.

Second, I will visualise or imagine what a day would look and feel like in that future. I will try my best to bring a realistic and detailed picture of it into my mind, from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night.

Finally, I will write down all of the things I imagined I did and experienced as part of that day.

As I move through my week, I will regularly bring my mind back to that simple vision of my future and remind myself that no matter where I am now, my vision of the future is where I will one day be. If I find this hard, I might set an alarm on my phone to remind me to spend a moment visualising it.

Whenever I can, I will mindfully do what I imagined I would do in the course of a day in my vision of the future.  In this way, I really can have faith that I will gradually get there and I will give myself small bits of evidence that helps me have hope every day.

When I am familiar with creating a simple vision and visualising it throughout the day, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for self-soothing and engagement in times of stress, distress or mental unwellness. When I am finding it hard to have hope, I will focus my attention on creating something I can have hope in.

By spending time visualising a positive picture of my future and reminding myself of the small things I can do to achieve it, I can actively balance any worried thoughts I might be having about how things are going to turn out and leave room for the possibility that everything will turn out okay in the end.

No. 104: Connecting with Interests & Skills

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice connecting with my interests and developing my skills by joining some kind of community course. Most community centres offer cheap community classes on topics ranging from cooking and clothing alterations to ballroom dancing, yoga and martial arts.

This week I will spend time exploring my options and finding a first class to try. It could take a few tries before I find a class that suits me. I will use my local telephone directory, The Community Resources Directory, web searches and local noticeboards to get a picture of what is available in my community. I might also talk to the people around me about what is out there and whether they recommend anything.

As I move through my day I will remember that I am exploring my interests and am well on my way along the path towards a more enjoyable life. Any points of dissatisfaction are simply the areas that are still works in progress.

It might be hard for me to get myself along so I might ask a friend, family member or other supporter if they want to come with me. That might also be a nice way to strengthen a relationship I have been wanting to build.

Once I have found a hobby-course that I enjoy and I have become familiar with the activity I have been learning, I will add the activity to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of engaging with my skills and interests to shift my mood when I am distressed.

* * *

Today’s post marks two full years of The Coping Kete in its online form.

The Coping Kete book is coming soon.  

No. 98: Just One Pleasurable Thing

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…I will purposefully do one pleasurable thing every day.

From the list of 113 activities below, I will choose one different pleasurable thing that I can do each day and plan which day I will do them. Each time I put one of the activities into practice, I will acknowledge my accomplishment, however small. I will observe how I felt before, during and after the activity to help myself become aware of what kinds of things lift my mood more than others.

It can be hard to start doing pleasurable things if we have been down or disconnected for a while. So I might plan small steps to begin with and scale back the length of time I plan on doing each activity for – e.g. it might be easier to start with attempting a 5-minute activity than an hour-long one. The goal for this week is to start by doing just trying one thing each day, regardless of how I feel. If the idea of every day is hard, I’ll just do one or two days. It doesn’t even need to work, the point is just to practice doing it and get used to doing it. If it’s unfamiliar, it probably won’t start being enjoyable until I’m used to doing it.

Once I am comfortable doing pleasurable things every day. I will add ‘Just One Pleasurable Thing’ to my Personal Coping Kete along with a short list of some of my favourite things. Then, in moments of stress and distress, I will try doing just one pleasurable thing to shift the way I am feeling in the moment. It’s good to have a mini-list there because it can be ultra hard to think of pleasurable things to do when we are in a bad space.

113 Pleasurable Activities 

  1. Soaking in the bathtub
  2. Planning my career
  3. Collecting things (coins, shells, etc.)
  4. Recycling old items
  5. Going to a movie
  6. Jogging, walking
  7. Thinking I have done a full day’s work
  8. Lying in the sun
  9. Planning a career change
  10. Listening to others
  11. Reading magazines or newspapers
  12. Hobbies (stamp collecting, model building, etc.)
  13. Spending an evening with good friends
  14. Planning a day’s activities
  15. Meeting new people
  16. Remembering beautiful scenery
  17. Going to the gym, doing aerobics
  18. Thinking how it will be when I finish school
  19. Getting out of debt/paying debts
  20. Practising karate, judo, yoga
  21. Repairing things around the house
  22. Working on my car (bicycle)
  23. Remembering the words and deeds of loving people
  24. Having quiet evenings
  25. Taking care of my plants
  26. Going swimming
  27. Doodling
  28. Exercising
  29. Collecting old things
  30. Going to a party
  31. Playing golf
  32. Playing soccer
  33. Flying kites
  34. Having discussions with friends
  35. Having family get-togethers
  36. Going camping
  37. Singing around the house
  38. Arranging flowers
  39. Going to church, praying (practising religion)
  40. Going to the beach
  41. Thinking I’m an OK person
  42. A day with nothing to do
  43. Going ice skating, roller skating/blading
  44. Sketching, painting
  45. Doing embroidery, cross stitching
  46. Going birdwatching
  47. Singing with groups
  48. Playing musical instruments
  49. Doing arts and crafts
  50. Making a gift for someone
  51. Buying CDs, tapes, records
  52. Watching boxing, wrestling
  53. Planning parties
  54. Cooking, baking
  55. Going hiking, bush walking
  56. Writing books (poems, articles)
  57. Going out to dinner
  58. Discussing books
  59. Sightseeing
  60. Early morning coffee and newspaper
  61. Playing tennis
  62. Watching my children (play)
  63. Going to plays and concerts
  64. Catch up with an old friend
  65. Daydreaming
  66. Watching videos or DVDs
  67. Going bike riding
  68. Completing a task
  69. Thinking about my achievements
  70. Eating gooey, fattening foods
  71. Photography
  72. Star gazing
  73. Reading fiction
  74. Being alone
  75. Writing diary/journal entries or letters
  76. Cleaning
  77. Reading non-fiction
  78. Dancing
  79. Thinking “I did that pretty well” after doing something
  80. Meditating
  81. Having lunch with a friend
  82. Going to the hills
  83. Playing cards
  84. Having a political discussion
  85. Solving riddles/puzzles
  86. Seeing and/or showing photos or slides
  87. Knitting/crocheting/quilting
  88. Shooting pool/Playing billiards
  89. Dressing up and looking nice
  90. Reflecting on how I’ve improved
  91. Talking on the phone
  92. Going to museums, art galleries
  93. Lighting candles
  94. Having coffee at a cafe
  95. Getting/giving a massage
  96. Saying “I love you”
  97. Thinking about my good qualities
  98. Having a spa, or sauna
  99. Going skiing
  100. Going canoeing or white-water rafting
  101. Going bowling
  102. Doing woodworking
  103. Fantasising about the future
  104. Doing ballet, jazz/tap dancing
  105. Debating
  106. Having an aquarium
  107. Going horseback riding
  108. Going rock climbing
  109. Thinking about becoming active in the community
  110. Making jigsaw puzzles
  111. Playing with my pets
  112. Having a barbecue
  113. Rearranging the furniture in my house

These activities were taken from a longer list by an unknown author found in this great online article by Elisha Goldstein, which also happens to have some excellent tips on putting pleasurable activities into action when they feel like the last things we want to do.

No. 86: Doing What I Can Do

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

… When I encounter a problem, I will turn my attention towards something I can accomplish to improve the moment.

To begin with, I will make a list of all of the big and small things I have been wanting to get done around the house and/or my workplace. I will break all of the big items on my list down into smaller parts so that in the end my list is a list of easy to achieve tasks.

When I find myself worrying about something I cannot change or predict, I will take out my list and begin working on one of the tasks I can do something about.

As I am doing the task I will focus my awareness on what I am doing in the current moment by noticing when my mind wanders onto the distressing thoughts and observing and describing my current surroundings and actions to myself to centre myself on the task at hand.

This week, I will respond to problems by doing something else that is positive for my life.   

Once I have gotten used to focusing on what I can do during times of low stress, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for distraction and engagement during times of distress and unwanted emotion.

No. 79: Using the Pause to Explore

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

… I will practice using the pause points from strategy No. 78 to reflect on what my automatic tendency is at the moment and brainstorm alternative responses. This week is about building and tapping into my awareness of the many response options that are really available to me from moment to moment.

When I notice shifts in my thoughts or mood, I will pause myself to breathe as I did with strategy 78 and then ask myself two questions:

  1. What is my instinctive response in this moment? i.e. Right now I want to…(argue, scream, run away, hide, drink, hurt myself)
  2. What are the available alternatives? i.e. Think of a kind of expression, support, distraction, engagement/problem-solving or self-soothing.

This week, I am going to become aware of the unhelpful responses I want to change and the kinds of alternatives I could possibly learn. As I do this, I will be strengthening the habit of pausing as a first response to distressing emotion as well as learning the practice of considering a wide range of strategies. Often it is the sense that we do not have many or any options available to us that causes distress. So this week, I will be practicing the art of expanding my perception of the options available to me.

It will probably help to use a notebook to record my reflections in, because after some time I will be able to look back on what my consistent instinctive responses have been, get a really good picture of what it is that I am working to change and expand my perspective of how many options are available to me in each moment.

If I am finding it difficult to think of alternative response options on my own, I will practice referring to The Coping Kete or my own Personal Coping Kete to reflect on different options.

If ever I find my self-talk becoming critical about my way of being in the world, I will be able to soothe myself by reminding myself of how I am evolving myself and feel satisfied that I am taking positive steps in my life.

Once I am used to pausing to explore my thoughts, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as something to do during moments of distress.


No. 75: Putting Myself in the Moment

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…when I find myself wanting or wishing things to be different, I will practice tapping into Buddhist philosophy and regularly remind myself that “whatever I say to the universe, the universe will respond with only one answer – yes.” I cannot ever have what I want, because ‘wanting’ is a statement of lack to begin with. As long as I put myself in that moment of wanting, the universe will provide me with the conditions of wanting. My thoughts, words and actions are the tools with which I create my reality and I can never experience something I am unwilling to express (meaning ‘push out’).

This week I will practice using my self-talk and my imagination to ‘push out’ the object of my desires into reality, rather than ‘pushing out’ my wanting.

Step One: When I find myself wanting or wishing things were different, I will change my thought commands and statements to put myself in that state now. Instead of saying to myself “I want…” or “I wish…” I will say to myself “I have…” or “I am…” or “I will be…”. So for example, instead of “I wish I was in love” I will say to myself “I am going to be in love.”

Step Two: I will then imagine what it will feel like to have that which I want. I will let myself feel those feelings, not the feeling of wanting it, but the feeling of actually having it. I will put myself in those feelings in advance. The mind knows no difference between imagination and reality. I am already having the experience that I want to have, I know what it feels like and sounds like and looks like within me. I will stay with those feelings no matter what, I won’t let external conditions tell me otherwise.

Life is happening through me. Life is not happening to me.

I will start out with the little moment-to-moment wishes for different interactions and things like that. Once I am comfortable putting myself in the moment I am seeking with everyday things, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for dealing with distress. When I notice myself feeling distressed, I will tune into what it is I want and use my imagination and self-talk to put myself in that moment now.

No. 72: Moving Away From Fixing Things

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

When I encounter problems in my daily life, I will practice reminding myself that “I do not need to fix the problem before me – I simply need to get through it.”

I can get through it by putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to breathe. As long as I am continuing to breathe, I am surviving it.

This way, instead of problems seeming like insurmountable challenges that I have to somehow solve (pressure!), they will seem more like challenges to cope with (less pressure).

When I talk about my problems with friends or family, I will also practice letting them know that I do not expect them to be able to ‘fix’ my problems. This can help them to feel more relaxed about supporting me through the difficulties.

Once I am comfortable with reminding myself I do not need to fix all of my problems, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing distress and helping myself seek support when I need it.

No. 53: One of Those Regular Reflection-Points

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will spend some time reflecting on where I am and where I want to be. This week will be a period of planning what I want to work on next. As I move through my week, my distress responses and feelings of dissatisfaction will become useful indicators that give me clues on what I would like to be different in my life.  I will remind myself that I am a work in progress and the messy areas are simply the bits I haven’t gotten to yet.

We’ve now been posting weekly strategies for a year. Today’s post marks the beginning of the next round of strategies.

This week, I will keep a notebook on me at all times. Whenever I notice something that I would like to be better at or find easier or respond differently to, I will write it down.

At the end of each day I will spend a bit of time reading over my notes for that day. I will spend some time writing down what skills and strengths I will need to develop in order to transform these things for myself.

At the end of the week, I will look back over my reflections and select the easiest, simplest one to work on first. In the coming weeks, I will focus on practicing techniques that will help me to develop this skill.

I will add ‘A Reflect Point’ to my Personal Coping Kete and return to it from time to time to review where I am at and where I want to go.

No. 47: Creating Mini Celebrations

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing… 

I will create space to celebrate my achievements and practice being aware of my strengths, by setting small goals and acknowledging when I reach them. I will make a list of all of the little things I need to do each day during the week. I will put this list somewhere I can see it and plan the items into my schedule. At the end of each day, I will tick or cross off the things that I did and congratulate myself for the achievement. I will talk about some of the achievements with other people.

Even the smallest of activities like eating meals, going for a walk or sometimes even getting out of bed, take skills and awareness that deserve acknowledgement, even if that is a simple silent acknowledgement to myself.  By building my awareness of the positive things I do each day I will build my sense of being able to handle whatever comes my way.

When I feel anxious or stressed, I will be able to recall these times of small mastery.

This week I will create this daily opportunity to appreciate the things I do. I will not use the list an excuse to berate myself for any of the things that I did not do.

Once I am comfortable with the practice of creating the opportunity for mini-celebrations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as something to make sure I am doing during times of stress and distress.

No. 32: An interesting day

This week, in order to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

I will plan interesting days into my week. This week, every second day is going to be an interest day. I will make sure that I do, talk about, watch or read interesting things. I will approach each present moment with the mindful curiosity and inquisitiveness that I was born approaching the world with.  I will find out things I have wondered about or connect with old hobbies.

This might take some planning. It’s easy to fall out of step with what actually does interest us.

My first interest day might need to involve exploring what I find interesting. I could use the internet, the Engage Online Resources Sheet or Community Resources Directory or my local library as places to find things that will absorb me. Or talk to a friend to come up with ideas. They might even want to join me.

Regardless of what I do or where I find myself, I will take interest in what is around me.

If I can’t do a day, I will do a moment.

Once I have gotten comfortable having Interest Days I will add them to my Personal Coping Kete as an engagement strategy for times when my mood needs a lift and my thoughts need to shift.