How To Reset Your Goals Following A Natural Disaster

By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick at Wild Women On Top

This year, I had plans to unleash myself for the start of my sexagenarian decade: that fabulous period between 60 and 69 years of age was going to be my most adventurous ever. 

With my youngest son done with high school and no grandchildren yet to chase around the garden, I thought I’d mark my 60th birthday by climbing The Matterhorn, a stunningly beautiful peak in Switzerland. I figured this was my last chance to do something extreme before I wore out. 

In the wake of this summer’s bushfires, I’m now questioning this and many other dreams I’ve cherished for years. 

I’m questioning the expense… would that money be better spent donating protect and save the wildlife, the forests and the oceans? 

I’m questioning the travel and the carbon emissions … should I be flying across the planet for an adventure? 

I’m questioning my energy… should I put my hiking strength and endurance to better use by becoming a volunteer firefighter or tree planter? 

I’m questioning my time … should I become a climate activist so I can look my children in the eye and say I did everything within my power to save our home planet?

This year, many of us are beginning the year with a new kind of guilt. 

It’s guilt for being part of generations who caused the climate to change. Guilt for not being able to help enough. Not being able donate enough. Not being able to make it all better for our children. Not being able to end nature’s suffering. Guilt for not realising the seriousness of climate change until we personally experienced the consequences. 

We’ve have donated to noble causes. We’ve collected, sponsored, baked, accommodated, sewed, shopped, followed, protested and done what we can to alleviate suffering of people and wildlife. 

But what happens now? 

When the immediate emergency has passed and our beautiful homeland has stopped burning, we need to take some time to grieve, re-set ourselves and then begin to renew our goals, with a productive and positive mindset overlaid with the new filter of a climate changed world. 

We need to remember that we are allowed to feel happy, joyful and optimistic about the future, while we work to restore equilibrium to our planet. We have so much power within, and we need to get it outside.

Here are some ways to turn your guilt into positive action:

1. Contemplate and research your goals in the light of any shift you might be feeling after the disastrous summer. 

2. Consider some lower-impact, more sustainable or lower-carbon goals or add value to your hiking adventure by fundraising or volunteering for environmental or wildlife causes.  

3. Take yourself for a thought walk or a walkie talkie with friends to refine your new goals. Studies shows that the best way to uncover new solutions is to fill your mind with research, thoughts and ideas then walk your way to new and unexpected solutions. 

4. Once you’ve decided on your goal, sign up and block out your diary so you’re locked into it. For extra fun and stickiness, invite your friends and family to join you. 

5. Write down your new goals then work backwards with time frames and details breaking them down into little bite size chunks of seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily actions to help you achieve your goal.

6. Plan out your workouts, your savings plan, your gear needs, your training needs and your life to ensure you stay on your new, more sustainable track.

7. Daily habits: Ensure you do something every day towards your new goals. It doesn’t matter how small it is, but make sure every single day unfolds with a little activity that will help you achieve your big hairy audacious goal. 

I’m still agonising over my plans to climb The Matterhorn. But before I commit to this goal, I’m going to investigate just how much I can reduce my carbon footprint, offset the impact of a long haul flight and change my daily habits to ensure I leave the earth better than I found it for my children.   

To learn more about how to deal with the emotional impact of a disaster, our friends at Beyond Blue have some great tips. 

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