If you live with debilitating chronic health problems, just the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions can be irritating, even infuriating. Over the past 24 hours, I heard this response from two people, a friend and a client. Both live with very difficult to manage, debilitating health problems.
My friend told me, in a tone of real sadness, “Each day challenges me. Why would I even dream of creating more work for myself?”
Sounding quite angry, my client described listening to colleagues share their New Year’s Resolutions at the ‘water cooler’. “Not me. When I was healthy, I looked forward to New Year’s and making yearly resolutions. I thought I could do whatever I set out to do. Hah – that was then Now, I’m mad just thinking about this.”
I can see their point. Life isn’t as straight forward as they once thought it could be. But aren’t these yearly ‘resolutions’ designed to encourage people (healthy and not) to create intentions for what they want their lives to be? Isn’t it what we, who live with real challenges daily, need most?
The thing is that doing it once a year doesn’t do the trick, for anyone. Within a few days, weeks or even months, you’ve forgotten what you thought was important at that moment.
I’ve found that living with chronic illness presents intense and demanding challenges and clear resolve is more valuable than ever. I’ve learned that I need to know what I want to do, what I want to be thinking about, and what I want to accomplish, whether I achieve it or not. This resolve shifts me from a place of what isn’t to a place of possibility and hope. It is my personal daily workout routine, my exercise in building and maintaining resilience.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What will you make of it?