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Read This Before Setting Goals for the New Year With a Chronic Illness

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The New Year can mean so many things. For some people, it’s a clean slate, a fresh start. For others, it’s just another day to work on the same goals that have always been on the table. A lot of times the folks in the first group get fairly crazy with the resolutions or goals, if you will.

“2019 is going to be my year! This year I’ll fold the clothes right when they come out of the dryer. I won’t go to bed until the kitchen is clean and the dishes are done. I’ll eat clean and give up alcohol and work out five times a week. I’ll do better keeping in touch with my family and friends. I’ll journal. I’ll read my Bible daily and a new book each month.”

No. You won’t.

I’m not trying to be a dream killer, but I am somewhat of a realist. You’re going to post a picture of your plate of cheesecake on social media within the first week of the new year. And that is OK. But why make proclamations that aren’t realistic to begin with? Some people need a fresh start to get themselves motivated and moving in the right direction with their plans and that is great for them, but to me it sort of feels like a fun new way to fail. Am I right? Am I totally off base? There’s a reason there are so many jokes out there about January being busy in the gym, but don’t worry because by February it’ll empty out again. That’s just what people do. Sure, you may be one of the few who really does make big changes that stick.

I compiled a few helpful little points that might help navigate the waters of the new year.

My tips for the new year:

1. Perhaps choose one big goal, not seven. Give yourself a fighting chance.

2. If you mess up or fail by January 4th, it’s OK. You can start again; you have my permission. Maybe you’ll fail a few times and finally get in the groove of that new habit by April or May. Celebrate any level of success you reach, no matter how many times you need to start again.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others and their abilities to meet their goals. Run your own race. You have your own illnesses, conditions, disabilities, scheduling, life, etc.

4. Try something new. No, it doesn’t have to be a hobby that has a $4,000 start-up fee. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Perhaps learn to do sudoku puzzles or start sketching things that make you happy. Here are some of the new things I’ve challenged myself with in the past: Aerial silks (pre-POTS), acrylic painting, cross-stitch, blogging, and beekeeping.  How will you challenge yourself this year?

5. Choose something that is relatively within your control. If your diet requires specific (maybe not even the most healthy) foods and you are not physically able to work out regularly, don’t set a goal to lose 45 pounds this year. That’s not fair to yourself. You could say that you are going to try to go on a short walk whenever you are feeling up to it. Or, you could say that you will find new healthy recipes throughout the year that you like, and work to incorporate them into your rotation.

Maybe these little tips will help you with being able to enjoy the new year instead of possibly feeling like a failure first thing into the year. I believe in you!

Follow this journey on POTS: Finding Smiles in the Trials.

Lead photo courtesy of Pexels

Originally published: January 2, 2019
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