We are Bridgeways. Our mission: to provide services that promote quality of life for individuals living with mental illness in a manner that facilitates growth, independence, and a sense of community.
With the beginning of a new year upon us, we at Bridgeways want to talk about an idea that many are likely to be considering when thinking about their new year’s resolutions or what we like to call, new year’s intentions. That is the idea of Expectation vs. Reality. This, we are sure, is not something you just think about around the new year. 2020 was certainly a year that we all had to deal with our fair share of managing expectations versus reality. Many of us had the expectation of seeing family over the holidays, dining out at favorite restaurants or ringing in the new year with our dearest friends. For the greater good, we had to make hard choices when confronted with the reality of COVID-19.
For many folks, this last year was about dealing with more the fundamental expectations of meeting basic needs, like housing or food. For so many, homelessness was a constant struggle and hunger something they and their families had to confront every day. It is fair to say that this last year has had no shortage of tough realities for so many.
With all that in mind we want to offer two tips when it comes to setting intentions and goals for 2021:
- First start with your big picture idealized goal and work backwards to break it up into several smaller attainable milestones. By being able to complete each small milestone you re-affirm to yourself, “I can do this,” while not letting the big picture feel so overwhelming. Don’t worry about how big or small the goal feels, we all have different starting points. For some, getting out of bed is a hugely significant milestone, for others maybe it’s trying to be a better partner or friend. It is important to set those smaller, realistic milestones so you don’t get discouraged by the mountain that is your big picture goal.
- Second, you must give yourself grace and be patient. The milestones you set should be attainable and realistic, but it is also realistic to expect that you won’t always meet them, and that’s ok.
At Bridgeways we are constantly working to manage our expectations versus the reality. It is when we set realistic milestones that we are better able to work towards our ultimate goal and mission. A recent example has been with our Mental Health Alternatives program or MAP. This is a problem-solving, therapeutic court within the Everett and Marysville Municipal courts. There, our MAP liaison works to reduce recidivism by providing defendants with a treatment-focused alternative to incarceration, helping to break the cycle of repeat offenses which sidetrack or preclude stability and wellness. In our latest group of metrics, we saw defendants with a total number of 634 charges before joining the MAP program. During the program we saw a large decline, to 31 total charges with ultimately a slight increase to 47 total charges post-MAP. This is a 92.6% reduction pre- and post-MAP! It is in that spirit of balancing realistic, attainable milestones, while working towards our ultimate goal, that allows us to continue this work and better serve those with mental illness by, facilitating growth, independence, and a sense of community. For more information about our MAP program click here!