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My Only Resolution This Year as a Person With Chronic Illness

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I’m only making one resolution this year. I am not the type to jump into New Year’s resolutions.

I remember in grade school we would make resolution lists. We would post them around the room on colorful paper and sometimes with a picture on the list. They were made in earnest, but looking back, these resolutions can seem silly to some. Turn in assignments on time, keep my desk clean, be nice to my siblings, clean my room. For me, these are things I still have not managed to master. My workstation is constantly a mess; at 31, I still call my siblings names; and my room looks like my closet exploded. I could continue to have the same resolutions, year after year, and hope for progress, or I could be kind to myself. That’s my only New Year’s resolution this year — to be kind to myself.

We all could use a little more kindness.

We have so many demands put on us — some external, like job obligations, taking care of daily tasks, and others internal, often quests for what we consider to be perfection. We make our lists of things to fix, don’t end up fixing them, and then feel bad about ourselves. Then we repeat this the next year with the same result.

What would happen if we were just nicer to ourselves? What if we said we wanted to be happy instead of perfect? We could give ourselves permission to try to be the best we could be each and every day and then actually accept all we have done as an accomplishment instead of looking at what we didn’t do. We could just be kind to ourselves.

My Resolution Plan

I plan to be kind to myself this next year and the years to follow. Kind to my body by listening to its signals. I will stop when I am in pain and move when my body craves movement. I will give my body good foods that help it work to its best ability. At the end of the day, I will be OK with what I accomplished and congratulate myself for surviving one more day.

I will be kind to my mind. I will not tell myself about everything I am unable to do — instead I will congratulate my mind for what it has accomplished. I will reward it with great books and beautiful music. I will have deep and meaningful conversations with friends, and I will give my mind the necessary time to be still.

Most importantly, I know I will fail in the traditional sense, and that is OK. As much as we hate to admit it, being kind can be hard, especially when it comes to ourselves. I am not going to be perfect at this kindness business, and that is going to piss of my inner perfectionist.

But my goal starting now is to tell that perfectionist to shove it and be kind to myself instead.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: December 27, 2016
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