By Tammie Allegro
With the holidays just about over, most people will likely be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. For some reason, the start of a new year makes people rush to make major life improvements that so far haven’t been accomplished. I personally think making positive changes should happen throughout the year and not be focused on the new one. This doesn’t mean I won’t set any goals; it just means that I am not going to set myself up to fail by setting lofty goals that, due to my illness, I may not be able to accomplish. This is especially true when it comes to the 10 most popular New Year’s resolutions, which make me chuckle, since most days, I struggle to accomplish the most basic tasks, let alone a list like this:
- Quit Smoking: I am not a smoker; I quit years ago. But, who can afford to smoke these days? The last I heard, cigarettes cost as much as $10 a pack. That is madness. This isn’t an item I want to spend my money on. Not to mention the health problems it causes.
- Get fit/go to the gym: This one makes me laugh for a very long list of reasons. The germs alone keep me away from gyms. Add to that the lack of physical coordination on my part and lack of funds to pay for a membership … not happening. I have fortunately found someone who helps me with this one; I started doing Pilates with a friend in her home each week, and I also like other home workout options.
- Take a trip: I’d love to travel more, but I have anxieties that make flying pretty difficult for me. However, I want my kids to experience family vacations that don’t all take place within a six-hour drive from our home. I’m putting this on the list.
- Eat healthy: This is one I can really get behind. Especially since I am finding that I have allergies to pretty much all my favorite foods. With limited options, I’m managing to figure out how to eat healthier very quickly.
- Spend more time with family: I would love to do this one. Unfortunately, most of my weekends are spent resting because I work full time during the week. I tend to miss most family functions due to lack of energy.
- Get a better job: I have a great job, and they are pretty patient with me and my illnesses. I feel fortunate that I am still able to work, and I know it is mostly because of the company I work for.
- Manage stress: Being sick all the time, I tend to worry about a million things a day - little things, from wondering “Is that kid sick, or is it just allergies?” to finding a way to pay for prescriptions if I have to change doctors.
- Save money: Bwahahaha! Only if someone is going to pay my bills, pay for my medications and increase my salary.
- Volunteer: This is a good one, but oftentimes taking on additional work beyond what I am already doing would deplete what little energy I have left. I do find myself enjoying the times I am able to serve others, and I wish I could do more.
- Drink less: Clearly this refers to alcohol. I don’t drink anymore, so this one is easy for me … now. Plus, with a chronic illness, drinking heavily can have major repercussions. I will stick to my sugary drinks and water.
Personally, I am focused on setting achievable goals for 2014 - not necessarily easy goals, but things that are within my control. I will be trying to appreciate what I have more. I will also try to stick to my healthier eating and exercise plan. Last, I am going to write thank-you notes and send cards to friends “just because.” I feel that living with a chronic illness and not being negative and sad all the time is a pretty huge accomplishment. New Year’s day, I will wake up thankful I survived another year and managed to do my best.
What goals have you set for yourself? Which ones did you accomplish in 2013?