We all come to the end of life. That is difficult for some of us to deal with emotionally, & in some cases it causes people to neglect preparing for it. But neglecting to think about it does not make the issue go away. In fact, the longer the task is put off, the more stress it causes just because you have to think about it again & again. So how do you avoid neglecting the important decisions that need to be made for your twilight of years without becoming overwhelmed by everything that should be done?
- Baby steps. Goal setting is daunting for many people. For most of us, it only takes a little progress in the right direction to encourage us to go attain more. If you can convince yourself to take one step of progress, however small, toward your goal each day, you will be surprised how quickly you reach your goal. If you have a goal of writing a will, for instance, take the step of researching wills online for 10-15 minutes on the first day. Small increments of time are often thought of as useless, but in reality, much of what we accomplish is in smaller time periods.
- Choose how you're going to prioritize the thing you have to accomplish. Some people start by doing the thing that is the most mentally taxing on them. Others start with the most urgent order of business. Others begin by doing the item that will cause the most harm if it is not completed. Determine how you will prioritize what you have to accomplish & put things into a logical order.
- Be thorough. Once you have determined which item is your priority & you've begun taking baby steps, stay consistent & finish that item thoroughly so that you do not have to re-visit it. If you start making a will, finish it & sign it & distribute it properly so that you know the item is complete. If you are making a DNR order for yourself, finish it up, have it signed by a doctor & post it on your refrigerator.
- Tie up loose ends. As you move through your list in a consistent manner, you may find that other questions come up, and that more items are added to your list. Be sure to write these things down so that you do not forget them. Re-visit them after you've completed your priority list.
We all have things that we neglect dealing with in our lives. To-do lists pile up with things that “should” get done “someday”. The above list could be used for completing any project or task in any stage of life. The only reason I've discussed it in this article is because it is a very common problem as we approach the end of life because the subjects that are to be dealt with are uncomfortable to even think about, let alone talk with others about. Do not let your discomfort dissuade you from peace of mind. You will feel better & your family will certainly thank you for having less stress to deal with after you've passed. Begin with making a plan of action, it's the first in a long series of baby steps toward peace.