Prioritizing Goals in Life with MD

Ralph Yaniz avatar

by Ralph Yaniz |

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I have spent my entire career working and volunteering in the nonprofit arena. My focus has moved from mental health to aging to disabilities. I learned from each step and took that knowledge into the next phase of my life. There were always things I could use in the future.

My work in the field of psychology applied to everything else. I’ve always been intrigued by the power of the mind. I remember reading Sigmund Freud’s writings on dream interpretation in high school. I went on to major in psychology and got my master’s in counseling psychology.

My coursework fed my desire for knowledge about what inspires people to greater success. With time, I established techniques to help me focus on attaining success. When I was younger, before the onset of my limb-girdle muscular dystrophy symptoms, my goals were focused on growth and career success.

I recently came across an article on Warren Buffet and his technique for success, the 5/25 plan. First, list the top 25 things you want to do. Then, pare the list down to the five most important tasks. Finally, as difficult as it may be, forget the other 20. The logic behind this method is that we often get caught up in trying to do too many things, which prevents us from accomplishing our most important goals.

Buffet’s technique made sense to me. At the age of 60, I’ve had to do this with my traveling. My recent column about traveling with a disability discussed opportunities for individuals with disabilities. I can easily list a couple of dozen places I’d love to see. Taking my list and whittling it down to the most important areas is a great way to ensure success.

Approaching travel in this fashion is empowering. The thought of trying to get to 20 or 25 new places is daunting, but I can choose the top five spots I want to see over the next few years. It feels great to succeed.

I want to take this 5/25 framework a bit further. Traveling is important for many of us with muscular dystrophy, but the 5/25 plan has even greater value: helping us live our day-to-day lives. We are all experts at living creative lives. We can better reach our goals by using the 5/25 plan.

Dealing with a progressive neuromuscular disease makes everything a little more difficult. Each trip outside the house is hard to manage. Each medical appointment must be planned. And traveling can be exhausting, even if it’s for fun.

For me, the biggest takeaway of the 5/25 technique is using the plan to prioritize each week. I’ve started to look at my week ahead, forcing myself to eliminate, cancel, or reschedule everything I don’t need to do, especially if it’s not something I enjoy. Buffet’s technique helps me do what I really want.

I think this prioritization technique may help many of us. Try it for a few weeks. Use it with bigger life goals and your weekly schedule. Let’s focus on priorities to help us thrive!


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


Kishor Jaju avatar

Kishor Jaju

This technique will surely help to upbeat if consistency is maintained.
Can you suggest something interesting so that this 5/25 technique we can plan for my son with DMD to decide his priorities. He is 7.5 yr old.

Ralph Yaniz avatar

Ralph Yaniz

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the column. I think because your son is younger, it might be helpful to work with him each evening about his accomplishments each day and talk about what he would like to accomplish the next day, whether it is about his education or his fun activities, etc.


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