Achieving Dreams – Setting Goals With Bipolar Disorder


How’s it going? I hope you are
doing well.

I have a super busy day so I have
to get going. Before I do…

Let me ask you something:

When you were little, what did you
want to be when you grew up?

An artist? A writer? A teacher?
A musician? A ballerina? The

Whatever you wanted to be, I bet
it didn’t include bipolar disorder,
did it?

So what did happen to your
dreams? I mean, maybe it wasn’t
the bipolar disorder that knocked
your dreams to the side – maybe it
happened before the diagnosis?

What happens to our dreams between
childhood and adulthood?

Most likely there was some adult
(parents, teacher) who told you that
your dream wasn’t realistic. Some
dreams (doctor, lawyer) maybe are
realistic, but ballerina/president?

We give up our childhood dreams to
Become responsible adults. We
graduate from school, grow up,
get a (real) job, get married, buy a
house, raise children…and before you
know it, we’re too old to follow our
childhood dreams even if we wanted

Or is it?

Maybe too late (or unrealistic) for
childhood dreams, but still possible
for adult dreams. And yes, you can
still have them despite bipolar disorder.
You just might have to be a little more

What if we were to call them goals
instead of dreams?

Like, “I’ve always wanted to cruise the

Or, “I’d like to visit Europe someday…”

Or, “I’d like to go back to college and
finish my degree…”

Or, “I’d like to finally write that book…”

Or, “I’d love to lose those extra 50

Or, “I’d like to learn ballroom dancing…”

You get the picture.

The point is, these are all attainable

And I’m sure when put this way, you
can think of a few yourself.

In my courses/systems, I teach it this
way, too. I don’t talk about dreams.
I talk about goals. About setting
realistic goals, how to do it, and
setting long-term and short-term




Perhaps the reason you haven’t
pursued your dream is because it’s
too big.

But if you put your dream into terms
of long- and short-term goals instead,
you can turn it into manageable, bite-
sized pieces.

Here’s what I mean:

Like the example of going back to
college for that degree that you want.
That would be your long-term goal.
But the short-term goals would be to
think of it in terms of semesters, or
even courses.

Writing a book could be a long-term
goal, with writing chapters as the
short-term goals.

Losing 50 pounds as a long-term goal
could be broken down into 10-pound
short-term goals.

See what I mean?

So what does all this have to do with
bipolar disorder?

The fact that you can still attain your
dreams even with the disorder if you
break it down into setting goals,
because with bipolar disorder, the
setting of goals is something that
is attainable, because you have room
for flexibility. You can work around
mood swings and episodes.

Understandably, some of your goals
might be limited by bipolar
disorder. For example, making plans
to travel is one of the things that
people write to me all the time about,
because it’s difficult to do when you’re
dealing with bipolar disorder.

I get questions like, “What if we’re going
on a trip and my loved one goes into an

Or, “How can I keep my loved one from
going into an episode when we’re

I’ve gone into these answers in-depth in
my articles, website, and courses, but
I’ll just tell you briefly here:

It can be done, but it takes a lot of
planning, and you need to make sure
that your loved one is STABLE.
Stability is crucial in avoiding bipolar
episodes when you’re traveling.

You also need to plan for every
eventuality. You need to have
safety plans in place, just like you
should when you’re home. And
make sure you have plenty of
back-up medication.

The point is, though, you can still,
for example, fulfill your dream of
visiting Europe – you just have to
plan for it (set it as a long-term

I know a woman who has been
successful at setting goals and
achieving her dreams. Her secret
is that she does the hardest part first –
that way she gets it out of the way.

What about you? Have you found
success at fulfilling your dreams or
attaining your goals?

If so, we’d all love to hear
about how you did it!

I have to get ready to head off to a
meeting. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Your Friend,


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  1. Hello David!
    Every day I read your texts and love them.
    This particularly touched me so much because I never remember to dream nothing in concrete when was a little child.
    Today I am very happy when composing poetry and that will tramsmite me all the strong I need to survive one more day.
    Will be a dream? Yes I wanted to be a writer. One step at a time.

  2. My childhood dream (since I was 12) was to work as a secretary in the United States Senate. I worked HARD at finally achieving that dream at the age of 20! I was secretary to the Legislative Assistant in a Senator’s office, and it was my duty to write letters to constituents concerning legislation for my boss’ and the Senator’s signature! That they recognized my ability at that tender age, thrilled me no end!

    However, I was only in the job for 10 days/2 weeks when I had my first nervous breakdown, and had to leave, not only the job, but my fiance, my apartment, and Washington, D.C. On the ward, I sobbed to my Mother that my life was over; I was now labeled “mentally ill” and would never be able to do what I dreamed of doing, EVER.

    Well, the years went by; I had two more nervous breakdowns (manic episodes that required hospitalization); many jobs, including legal secretary, real estate agent, medical secretary, etc. The longest I ever held a job was 3 years; I did that twice, and then, after the death of my first husband, I went on Social Security Disability.

    The “job” I DID hold the longest, was as landlady in my own apartment house. There were frustrating times (like when the water heater blew up!), but mostly it was stress-free. But, after the death of my second husband, my residence turned into a “crack house,” and I could no longer CONTROL what was going on – the tenants were stronger than I was, and VERY manipulative. Their constant need for “loans” for their habit, ate up whatever disposable income I might have.

    After moving, I spent a year just watching DVDs every day and night; relaxing at night in a bubble bath; and sleeping into the early afternoon. I had NO drive; no goals; no dreams. Until – I saw an ad over the Internet for Mystery Shoppers. Something about it appealed to me. It would bring in a little money; get me out of the house; and interact with other people. All it required was to act like a normal customer; observe customer service; cleanliness; etc., and write a report (mostly “yes” and “no” answers) and submit it over the Net. I get to accept the jobs I want, and turn down jobs I don’t have time to do. But – it IS a start.

    Earlier last year, I wanted to begin a business like”Internet 101″teaching clients how to use the Internet for emails, taking surveys, use little “shortcuts” that I had learned from my boyfriends, and making a little more money than mystery shopping.

    However, the first part of this year, a LOT of outside influences prevented me from starting this side-line business. Financial worries with the IRS; having enough money to pay my mortgage; getting money back that I had loaned; and the physical problems -difficulty swallowing, and excruciating pain in my lower right abdomen. This is NO time to be thinking about goals and dreams. This is a time to take care of MYSELF. I guess you’d call that a GOAL, and a very important one at that!

    BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. Please say a little prayer as I go through this hard time. Thank you.

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