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How to Reach Your Wellness Goals When You Live With Chronic Pain

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“Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!”

Before my diagnosis, I remember thinking how empty those words sounded to me. Of course I’m going to have a healthy year – I’m young, I’m in good shape, I don’t have any serious vices, my diet is decent and I even make it to the gym every now and then. Thanks for the sentiment but I’m holding out for a ridiculously magical year – my health is just fine.

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Nine years later, as a chronic pain patient, this polite gesture takes on a whole new meaning. I know it’s said with with good intent but my well-wishers have no idea just how much work it takes to have a healthy day, let alone a whole year.

Planning Is Key

There are thousands of associations, support groups, alternative medical treatments and dietary recommendations that exist solely to help us learn to not just survive, but truly live with this condition.

There’s so much help out there that it takes some effort to most efficiently take advantage of it all.

Friends, I’d like to share how I reach my wellness goals and successfully manage my chronic pain throughout the year. (This system works for other goals too: career, budgeting, family, self-care, etc.) I’ll list the steps so you can join me.

1. Copy this template. Grab a pencil, a pen or a couple of markers to make it pretty – you’ll be staring at this piece of paper for a year.


2. Think big. Decide on and write down your overarching goals for the year. Pick two or pick ten, whatever feels right for you. My wellness goals for the year may be completely different than yours but feel free to use them for inspiration!


3. First quarter (Q1) goals. Ask yourself what you can do for the next three months to make progress towards your goal. Write them in your “Q1” box.


4. Face it. Put your brave intentions somewhere you will see them often. Maybe a mirror or the fridge so it’s staring you in the face every day.


So, here it is, my final version for the first quarter of the year. At the end of each quarter, I sit down with my list to assess. I go through each item and decide what worked and what didn’t. If it worked, I add it to the next quarter, if it didn’t work, I’ll replace it with a new step that I think will work better. (This is also why I only plan one quarter out.)

My mantra for the New Year? “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Good luck!

Join me in reading Agapi’s book, Wake Up to the Joy of You.

Click here to read my last post, Eliminate Recurring Pain

You can follow Puja on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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Originally published: January 12, 2017
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