It’s that wonderful time of year where many people are fervently setting goals to get their shit together for the new year, while others take the more nihilistic approach of sliding through 2018 the same sack of shit they were for all of 2017. Now, I don’t have strong opinions regarding new year’s resolutions. They work for some and don’t for others, much like anything else. And it’s not like you can’t make the same kind of resolutions at any other point in the year. Dates are pretty arbitrary when it comes to making changes or starting new projects.

That said, I have learned a thing or two about trying to set goals while also being cripplingly depressed. Mainly, just don’t. Concrete goals are for the motivated, which you most decidedly are not when you’re suffering from clinical depression. I mean come on, nothing makes you feel better than that little voice in your head reminding you of all the things you should be doing, but aren’t because that takes effort and energy you just don’t have.

Sure, it feels awesome when you sit down with that fancy planner you spent too much money on, and create this whole scheme to get your life together and get shit done. You might even blow a whole week working out schedules and deadlines, the whole time basking in the glow of this artificial sense of control. But then comes the hard part – actually following through on your fancy plan. That’s where things usually fall flat. And then you’re back to eating cake for breakfast at 4pm, still in your pjs, watching Futurama episodes on Netflix. Trust me, we’ve all been there.

The thing is, having large goals just makes you frustrated when you can’t bring them to fruition right away. There’s nothing more discouraging. Even worse, you end up in this holding pattern of wanting to do stuff, but not doing it because you feel like you should be doing other things that you don’t actually feel like doing, instead. Doing nothing is way worse that not doing the things you think you’re supposed to.

So, instead of spending your time compiling endless to do lists you’ll use as an excuse to be down on yourself later, just work on whatever makes you feel good at that moment. You end up being surprisingly productive this way. And yes, you may end up in the middle of too many projects, but by chipping away each one, bit by bit, you will eventually finish some of them. That’s way better than trying to force yourself to finish that one project you just aren’t motivated to work on.

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