I had this tattooed on my arm several years ago. It has always been my dream to open my own counseling practice and specialize in OCD. This is now my domain name for my counseling website, getbehindmeocd.com. This has been a daily reminder for me to continue to go after my dream. My dream has been to help others battle OCD. I’m not suggesting we should tattoo our dream on our body, 🙂 ,I’m just sharing something that I did on my journey. Like most people, I have made countless to do lists in my life. These can be helpful especially when our brain gets on overflow and we just end up chasing butterflies. It can be something as basic as texting a friend back or starting the dishwasher. With OCD, our lives often feel as if they are spinning out of control. I feel that when we write down a to do list, some goals, and some areas in life that we value, we have some good starting blocks to go for what we want in life. When our brain goes into overdrive, it’s easy to forget what we are actually wanting to do with our time, especially when performing useless compulsions. These compulsions take up waaaaaaaaaaay too much of our time, and I don’t think any of us want that !!!!! I am a big believer in doing one thing at a time. I still struggle with this at times. Attempting to concentrate on one thing at a time can be difficult for all of us. People with OCD and Anxiety symptoms can have extremely active brains. Writing down a to do list or a goal may seem like a very basic idea. It is basic, and it can work. As we know, no amount of compulsions, rituals, or ruminating, will “fix” this OCD stuff. Knowing this, let’s try to lean into these obsessions on purpose and do our best to stop the compulsions. This is not easy, but it’s doable. As I have suggested before, it helps to find a therapist that specializes in OCD and is trained in ERP therapy. Just like ACT therapy suggests, going after what we value in life means less time spent on our obsessions, compulsions, addictions, anxieties, etc. Whether we value being a good employee or value playing golf well, having a set of values on paper can help us re-focus when our brain feels as if it’s melting from stress. We need to keep checking in with these values, dreams, and goals for them to be helpful. Just like exercise, we can think about exercise all day, but until we start doing it, it won’t have much positive effect. Our daily tasks can often become just another compulsion for us if we are dealing with OCD. We need to me mindful of how we are using our to do lists, journaling, values that we write down, etc. It’s okay to have some areas of focus and some measurable goals that we are paying attention to. We just want to be careful not to let these become just another compulsion or a ritual. Talking with your therapist or a loved one for accountability can be a helpful tool. Our therapist or loved one can encourage us and assist in keeping us on track. We want to continue to try and stay away from or cut down the compulsions, seeking reassurance, performing mental rituals, etc. So let’s write some ideas, goals and interests down. Let’s write down what we would like our life to look like a year from now. Start small, one step at a time. Please don’t berate yourself if this is a difficult activity, because it can be. Remember, you didn’t ask for this, but you can do something about it. We have one life, let’s do our best to enjoy the one we have. Hang in there, talk with you soon.