It is not uncommon for most of us to enter the adult world with a ‘life plan’; anticipating where we will be professionally and personally by certain milestones.
Most of my friends planned to be married by the time they reached twenty-five and others mentally scheduled the date when they would start a family.
We all know that having dreams and something to work towards is healthy but we should also prepare ourselves for some unexpected bumps in the road. And in my case; bumps in the skin.
Admittedly I never anticipated still having acne at twenty-nine; so when I first started my blog Beautiful by Breakfast, I set myself a goal to be free of acne. This is mostly because I had spent my entire teenage years telling myself it would go by itself by the time I reached my twenties! Crippled by the emotional pressure I had put on myself; I vowed to be rid of acne before I turned thirty.
I had given myself eighteen months to clear my skin and was adamant that this was it! The end was in sight.
I allowed plenty of time to ensure I succeeded but the problem with goal posts is that they move unexpectedly.
Six months after starting my blog my boyfriend proposed and we immediately planned for a July wedding. So now understandably, I find myself adjusting my deadline so that I can be free of acne before I get married!
That has taken me down from one year to now only two months remaining! It is no wonder that I am feeling completely overwhelmed and demotivated at the moment!
Truthfully, I know that I am the only one responsible for making me feel this way. My boyfriend has never made me feel anything less than the most gorgeous person in the world; yet I am still plagued by my personal deadline.
For the last six months I have worked so hard to be sure that I am doing everything humanly possible to clear my skin and now I feel like I have single handedly set myself up to fail.
That is why it is so important to set yourself realistic and achievable goals.
We’ve all been there a hundred times; when we start a new product or a new course of medication and say, “this is it! This is what is going to clear my skin.”
And every time something doesn’t work; we get up, dust ourselves off and try again time after time. It’s exhausting I know but it is our goal and ambition that keeps us going.
Deep down we know that there is every chance that it might not work and we will have to look again for another ‘cure’. But what you must never do is stop believing that it is possible. Take my experience as an example; setting an unrealistic goal is the fastest way to feel demotivated and more stressed out about your skin. And we all know more stress equals more spots!
As my boyfriend says:
it’s time to work smarter; not harder.
I’m sure you have all come across SMART criteria before. When I used to teach beauty therapy we used this principle for every objective to maximise results in the classroom.
Your goal no doubt is to clear your skin of acne… but what exactly do you expect your skin to look like when you succeed? Because the reality is; after the acne is gone you still have to tackle the enlarged pores and scarring. Be wary of expecting your skin to look like the airbrushed man/woman in the advertisement.
To see results you need to measure your progress. The best way to do this is by writing a journal and taking regular photos of your acne so that each week you can compare your results. It is only in the recent months that I have started doing this; that I actually appreciate how far I’ve come and that the hard work was worth it!
One of the hardest things I had to come to terms with over the years is that the only person that can help me is me! Relying on doctors or dermatologists wasn’t enough. If I really wanted to see results; I had to help myself for myself.
If you are looking for a quick fix, it’s time to get real… as I explained before; you need to set yourself a realistic goal. You can do this by researching acne journeys of others. Most of whom will tell you their acne didn’t clear over night by one miracle cure. Instead they will describe how it took months if not years of perseverance, hard work and trying several methods.
Working towards a deadline will help to keep you focused. Set yourself alerts and reminders for when you reach quarterly milestones to motivate you through the process. While you should avoid pressuring yourself with unrealistic deadlines (like me!) you should also be careful not to give yourself too much time to work towards your goal… tomorrow never comes.
To help you on your way I have come up with my own acronym:
Start. Measuring. Acne. Relative. To.