Why Resolutions are Important for the New Year
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Make 2018 an epic year. Seriously. You have approximately 365 days to make it so, in spite of your Multiple Sclerosis.

Yes, we hear you, and this is not going to be another inspirational essay that’s filled with unrealistic aspirations and lofty goals. After all, Dan and I both have MS, and we get where you’re coming from.

I truly haven’t walked in more than 15 years. I need to use a wheelchair to get everywhere. This includes needing assistance to transfer every time I use the restroom. Every. Single. Time.

Oh, and Dan? Well, who do you think does the majority of these transfers? All this while also dealing with his MS issues like clumsy numb hands and unfathomable fatigue.

We hear you

Again, we hear you.

So, please hear us on this and understand why, with this new year upon us all, you really need to make a list of New Year’s Resolutions. We know, this may sound cliché to you.

Resolutions? It’s like people make them and break them by the third week of January. Like, “I know I make a resolution to eat better this year, but one donut to celebrate my three weeks of success won’t hurt me, right?”

Or, maybe you oppose them because past resolutions did nothing more than add frustrations and challenges to your already full plate.

But 2018 can be different. Here’s what has worked for us the past 12 years of marriage, and we hope it inspires you to empower yourself through the end of this new year.

Reframe your approach

Think of successful businesses and Fortune 500 companies. They didn’t reach their pinnacles by aimlessly winging it day after day. They had concrete goals and mission statements. Making a list of resolutions really is putting down on paper what your goals and mission is for the upcoming year. And having them written down makes them more official and easy to reference when you need a refresher.

Stay specific and realistic

Yes, I would LOVE to walk again, but it’s not going to happen overnight and without work. I need to start small. Start smart. Instead of writing down, “Walk again,” my goal needs more attainable, like “Practice standing on my own,” or “Take steps in the swimming pool.” Having these small and manageable aspirations can limit disappointments and lead to greater success. And I know that rather than just stating, “Be a better MS patient,” Dan specifically has said he wants to be more diligent about taking his disease-modifying medication as directed.

Build your team

We strongly encourage you to consider sharing your list with some of your nearest and dearest. In addition to having other to hold you accountable, they also can provide the support you need to make your resolutions your realities. Whether it’s a close friend, neurologist, caregiver or spouse, having someone join you makes it so you don’t feel like you’re taking on these resolutions alone. For example, Dan and I both want to incorporate more exercise into our lives. Knowing this, we each can encourage each other to turn off the TV and get moving.

Revisit, refresh and realign

Make plans to regularly review your resolutions throughout 2018. This is another reason why it’s important to write them on a piece of paper. Check out your progress. Celebrate your successes. Recognize what is and isn’t working for you. Maybe something you planned to do truly isn’t realistic. Take the time to change, adjust and add to this list. Remember you wrote your resolutions down on paper rather than etching them in stone.

Keep looking forward

Realize that you aren’t Wonder Woman or Superman. You will have lots of successes, but things aren’t always going to go your way. Don’t be too hard on yourself and give yourself a break. Always remember that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. Rather than limiting yourself by looking back at what you didn’t accomplish, keep an eye on the unlimited promise of your forward progress.

Remember your why

Resolutions are your list of the things you want to achieve. They are the points that you feel are important in your life that are worth your time. So when you revisit this list throughout the year, remember the reasons these goals were important to you. And with this, you soon will realize that “your why” for the importance of achieving these goals actually is better seen as “you’re why.”

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