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Discussion in 'Introductions' started by zanemwarwick, Jan 22, 2018.

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Is this a good goal?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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Goal: To challenge my thoughts at least once a day with the use of ‘Dysfunctional Thought Record’ taken fr by February 17, 2018 (finished)

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Member zanemwarwick commits to the following actions to achieve this goal

Whenever my thoughts are destructive and negative, I’ll use the Thought Record.

  1. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3

    Goal Approval

    Hello all,

    I found the forum through a subreddit and thought that it was a neat concept. Although the forum topics seems sparse, yet I am impressed after briefly reading about the system that is in place, and would love to try it out.

    I have many goals but I tend to be overwhelmed by them. I plan to focus on one goal at a time and see how it goes.

    Currently, my most pertinent issue is depression; I used to be severely depressed and I have dropped out of my last degree because of that. After meeting a psychiatrist and taking medications for a few months, I’m taking a different degree which might be more to my liking. Plus, I have better social and medical supports this time around so I’m aiming to complete my degree this time around.

    My depression currently ranges from none to incapacitatingly bad. I’m trying to wean out of medication and focus more on cognitive strategies to handle the condition.

    My simple goal: To challenge my thoughts at least once a day with the use of ‘Dysfunctional Thought Record’ taken from the CBT therapy.

    This is how the record looks: https://media.psychologytools.com/worksheets/english_us/dysfunctional_thought_record_en-us.pdf
     
  2. Shaney96

    Shaney96 Active Member

    Rating points:
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    Action points:
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    Result points:
    709
    Welcome to the forum @zanemwarwick, I hope it serves you well.

    How's the weaning out of medication going, and how much does it actually affect mood? It's good that you're not beating yourself up for using medication.

    In regards to goal updates, how do you plan to show your progress? Will you give minor details about the thoughts (depending on each thought's context) and explain how you combated the thought?
     
    zanemwarwick likes this.
  3. Jack

    Jack Member

    Rating points:
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    Action points:
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    Good to have you @zanemwarwick, Welcome!

    If beating your depression is the most important thing then this goal seems like a solid start.

    When you say challenge your thoughts, do you mean react to negative thoughts immediately using the diary, or sit down specifically with the intention of thinking deeply and challenging your current frame of mind? If it's the former you might want to consider a format you could write on mobile or carry a small printed version with you, it might be difficult if you find yourself in certain situations to take the time to properly fill out an entry in the diary.

    Good luck!
     
  4. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    My plan is to show my Airtable base that replicates the Thought Challenge form. Airtable is similar to Excel except they call their sheets base (at least that’s what I understood).

    I might post a picture of one instance of me challenging my thoughts in this forum daily. If I’m up to it, I’ll post more than one.

    Looking at the Thought Challenge form, I’ll try to be as specific as I can on the context in which the thought arises and elaborate specifically about how I challenged those thoughts.

    A possible problem is I would challenge my thoughts in my head without putting the details of those challenges onto paper or document. I’ll try to be aware of that habit.

    Edit:

    Airtable, in case anyone’s interested:

    https://airtable.com/product
     
  5. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    Yup, I realised that depression is a strong bottleneck for progress in other areas of my life. If I can manage it, it is likely that I can progress better in other domains.

    I’ll probably do a mix of instant and deep reflection sort of thought challenges. The former if I am aware of my thoughts most of the time and immediately challenge them, while the latter if I didn’t do any immediate challenges so I’ll conduct some sort of evening review to reflect upon the depressive thoughts I had that day.

    I’m using Airtable and it’s on iOS so portability might not be an issue.
     
    Jack likes this.
  6. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    Forgot to answer this.

    This week would be my last week taking any form medications. I wish I could say that I’m fine just because I feel fine and my depression is lesser; the reality is I’m feeling fine because life is relatively comfortable right now with me moving back into my parent’s house. Any stressor might skew me back towards severe depression.

    A true test of my mental condition would be to throw myself out into the wild and doing uncomfortable things. But, I’ll probably give myself a few weeks or so before trying to do something challenging. My thoughts are still messy thus why I want to restructure them cognitively first before moving on behavioural change.
     
  7. Fundinn

    Fundinn Active Member

    Rating points:
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    Result points:
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    Hi @zanemwarwick, welcome to the forum.

    I like your goal, but what does challenging your thoughts mean? More specifically, will the 'outcome' column in the DTR form translate into some kind of physical action? I looked at examples online and it is a lot about 'thoughts'. I would suggest that, every week, you pull out one particular record and physically act upon it in a positive way.

    For example, let's say you go to the grocery store and after asking for a product to some store clerk, you feel like he's being judgmental and it makes you self-conscious. Then you proceed in thinking about a bunch of negative ideas. You know this will be written down in your record, but in the spur of the moment you decide to clarify the situation by asking the clerk if he's doing alright. A reflex that helps you shed light on what's really going on. Imagine that he ends up telling you that his car broke down and he came in late. He thanks you for asking and you proceed with your day feeling great, knowing it wasn't about you at all.

    Anyways, food for thought. I don't know you personally, so perhaps this is already helping you step out of your comfort zone.
     
    zanemwarwick and James like this.
  8. James

    James Host

    Welcome to the forum, @zanemwarwick,

    This is my question too. OP I'm not familiar with this type of goal, could you explain more what the outcome you hope to achieve is?
     
    zanemwarwick likes this.
  9. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    @James @Fundinn

    Thanks for the feedback, guys. I forgot to clarify that I've changed the original Thought Challenge sheet to be clearer and more thorough. For example, the Outcome section I've turned into Rational Responses.

    This is its current form: https://airtable.com/shrUVozmD3XN34SZ9

    Based on Fundinn's feedback, I've changed added another Rational Response: Rational Response (Actions). The previous Rational Response will be Rational Response (Thoughts).

    Please tell me if it's still unclear; I would like to improve the goal further.

    Note:

    My current way of challenging my thought is by being aware when a negative/destructive through arises, identify the irrationality hiding within those thoughts (the so-called Cognitive Distortions), and formulate rational counters to them. I'll do two types of counters: Cognitive and Behavioural.
     
  10. Gort

    Gort Robot

    Notification: Goal approved!

    The community voted to approve this goal as Doable and SMART.
    Now, do your best to succeed! Your next progress update will come due on Sun, 28 Jan 2018.
     
  11. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    Alright. It's my first update.

    For today, I managed to challenge two of my negative thoughts. You can view the exact records HERE.

    The most significant thought of the two revolves around me not doing anything productive from morning till evening, and then beating myself up because of that.

    Below is the adapted record. Note that I've removed some details that are not important.


    SITUATION

    It is close to 7pm and I haven't done anything productive.


    AUTOMATIC NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

    It's too late to do anything productive today. I might as well continue doing nothing productive.


    COGNITIVE DISTORTION

    All-Or-Nothing Thinking

    - My reasoning: There are only two types of days - perfect and super-productive days, and nightmarish and super-unproductive days. There is nothing in between.


    RATIONAL RESPONSE (THOUGHTS)

    Just because I wasn't productive for most of day, it doesn't mean that I need to squander the remaining hours. Those who are left standing can still help me improve my life so why not use them well.


    RATIONAL RESPONSE (ACTIONS)

    I plan my activities for the few hours I have left for the day with the help of Complice.
     
    Fundinn likes this.
  12. Shaney96

    Shaney96 Active Member

    Rating points:
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    Action points:
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    Result points:
    709
    I like this model of understanding, breaking-down, then developing a positive response to a negative thought.

    Once you practise jotting this down over a period of time, you'll begin doing it naturally, as a habit, throughout each day.

    I'd say this is a journey towards stoicism: something (positive or negative) occurs in your external environment. You interpret and process the event, then act accordingly based on your internal calculation.
     
  13. Fundinn

    Fundinn Active Member

    Rating points:
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    Cool write-up @zanemwarwick, it's going to be a sweet challenge.
     
    zanemwarwick likes this.
  14. James

    James Host

    OP, you can also plan for tomorrow when you do planning responses.
     
  15. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    Nice catch!

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is indeed based on Stoicism in some ways. That reminds me...I did plan to read Enchiridion in the past; maybe I'll start reading it once I've set up a new reading goal.
     
  16. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    Thanks!

    I'll do my best to complete the challenge.

    That's true. I didn't think far enough, and I will do that in my other planning responses.
     
  17. zanemwarwick

    zanemwarwick New Member

    Rating points:
    3
    2nd day

    Today is a relatively comfortable day. I'm not sure if it's because I'm in better control of my thoughts, or I'm in my super comfy comfort zone; I bet that it's the latter but that will be a topic for another day.

    Due to the comfort, I'm not attacked by my own thoughts that much. Most of them are minor stings that I can shrug easily. Interestingly, the thing I'm afraid the most today is writing this update. Here's the record:


    SITUATION

    Writing the second daily update


    AUTOMATIC NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

    I want to write the update but I'm afraid of reading people's criticisms about it. I am a bad writer and people must hate whatever I write.


    COGNITIVE DISTORTION

    Mind-reading
    - Thinking that I know what people are actually thinking

    Emotional reasoning
    - Just because I am afraid or anxious doesn't mean that things are going to be bad.

    Labelling and mislabelling
    - 'I am a bad writer' -> calling myself that over and over is not going to improve my writing skills. What exactly needs improving and how can I act on that information?

    Disqualifying the positive
    - It's possible that people (or at least some of them) would think that my update is interesting in some ways. Don't discount that possibility.


    RATIONAL RESPONSE (THOUGHTS)

    First, you haven't read their replies yet. What if they're nice and constructive? You would miss those if you run away.

    Second, even if they criticise and you might feel bad from hearing their sharp words, it is very likely that you will learn something will benefit YOU. Whether it's about writing, managing your thoughts better, or anything, criticisms are most of the times helpful as long as you know to take what's useful out of them and leave out the remaining junk.


    RATIONAL RESPONSE (ACTIONS)

    Nice or not nice - I decide to read their replies and post my update anyway.

    (This fascination with wanting everything to be 'Nice' needs to be put under the microscope. Will be worked on later.)




    The full record: https://airtable.com/shrUVozmD3XN34SZ9
     
  18. Tom

    Tom Active Member

    Rating points:
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    Your cognitive distortion section nailed it. Writing is fine: clear and concise and I have no criticisms of the update. :D

    Your approach is something I envy man. Solid thinking.
     
  19. Gort

    Gort Robot

    Notification: Goal update is due.

    Please submit an update on your goal progress.
     
  20. Gort

    Gort Robot

    Notification: Update not submitted.

    The goal update was not submitted within the time limit.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2018

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