October 25, 2007

Make 2008 the Best Year Ever

As the end of the year draws near, there's no better time to take stock of the past 12 months and begin to look ahead. Why not grab this opportunity to remind yourself of your accomplishments, look back on the challenges, and start planning to make 2008 the best year possible?

Give yourself credit. Write down the past year's achievements so you can see your strengths. Include small accomplishments, too: Even if you were too fatigued to work out every day, don't discount times you went for a walk after dinner. Many of our major goals are achieved through small steps.

Look at your weak spots. Look at the goals you couldn't quite reach; the problem might lie with your expectations. With lupus, it's crucial to pay attention to your physical and emotional needs, and those unmet goals might be a reality check.

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Jot down what you consider most important—family, job, health -- and make those things a priority. Once you've made your list, arrange them in order of their importance to you -- and focus your resolutions on your values.

Keep it simple and upbeat. Break big resolutions into concrete, positive parts, so you can track your progress without beating yourself up. Instead of "Stop stressing out," try "Do meditation for 10 minutes on Monday." Rather than "Lose 20 pounds," aim for "Eat five servings of vegetables today." The more specific your goal, the more likely your chance of success.

Do your homework. Before committing your resolutions to heart, do a little research to see if they're realistic. A swimming program can be great for your health, but be sure to discuss such plans with your doctor and investigate the facilities near you. Doing so before you start will help prevent frustration and the feeling of failure down the road.

Track your successes -- and reward yourself for them! Keep a journal, mark a calendar, or touch base with a friend on a regular basis. When you’ve passed a milestone -- 14 days without a cigarette, say -- be sure to reward yourself for your efforts. Even a celebratory coffee break can help reinforce your success and keep you focused on your ultimate goals.

Taken from the Fall 2007 issue of Lupus Now. Written by Emily Wojcik

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