Celebrating the End

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on December 31, 2020 # Lifestyle

We made it, folks. We lived through almost a full year of quarantine, perpetual hand-sanitizing, depletion of our physical and emotional comforts, some unavailability of assistive aid, and an endless list of accommodations. I’m not saying the new year will magically put us back to where we were before this pandemic started, but I am saying that we came out on the other side. Perhaps you’re stronger than you thought?Kristin with her dog

The good news is that we get a fresh start, whether that means how we’re mentally preparing for this year, or just in picking a new theme for our 2021 calendar. Either way, this is a new beginning and a new opportunity to set yourself for success in 2021. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make a list of goals, and stick to them. I’m talking about small, reachable goals that you can be successful in. Instead of saying “pay off all debt,” try something like “set aside $50 per month to put toward my car payment.” If you’re able to accomplish some smaller goals along the way to your ultimate objective, it’ll keep you interested and motivated.
  2. Make a To-Do list for the day or the week. I started doing this last year and it has completely changed what my days look like. Not only does making a list protect me from forgetting things I need to get done, but it makes it harder for me to justify wasting 30 minutes checking my email or browsing social media. I prefer a “To Do this week” list vs. for every day so there’s less pressure to get everything done in one day and, honestly, so, I don’t run out of tasks. Once the world gets back to normal, my schedule will fill back up and I’ll likely switch to a daily list. Find what works for you!
  3. Adopt healthy habits. Our minds have the ability to switch on autopilot for some of our everyday routines, so let’s incorporate the good stuff: Join a gym with a friend; give yourself 10 minutes to stretch before getting out of bed in the morning; wake up a half-hour earlier so you can sit down to eat breakfast; or buy yourself a fancy smartwatch that counts your steps and encourages you to move. Maybe none of those sound fun, particularly, but I guarantee you’ll feel better when you include healthy habits in your routine.
  4. Reconsider your unhealthy habits. While we’re thinking about our habits, let’s get rid of the bad ones. That includes everything from going to bed too late, to drinking too much alcohol, to eating too many of those sugar cookies they sell around Christmastime. Those cookies are taken off the shelves after the holidays, thank God, so that’s an easier one to kick. Most of us can think of a not-so-healthy tradition in our everyday, and the new year is the perfect time to wrap it up.
  5. Join a supportive community online or in person. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can do a lot of things alone, in our houses, quarantined. But, I think we’ve all learned, that is far from ideal. More good news: you don’t have to be alone, and there are people out there looking for people like you. That might mean joining a group of people who can relate to your difficulties; one full of people who have overcome and want to help others on your path; or a group that wants to encourage you toward your goals. Life is easier with company, and it’s easier with the internet. Do an online search, and find your people.
  6. Work on your relationships. Feeding off my last point is the importance of quality relationships. If there’s someone you need to apologize to, compromise with, or reach out to, get on it. Life is too short and too unpredictable to not give people grace. Think: you might be the next person who needs some.

There’s something about starting “fresh” at the start of a new week, a new month, or a new year. I realize that those tips are applicable at any point in the year, but it feels better to start a diet on Monday morning, set aside $50 on the first of the month, and/or join a gym the first month of the year. I don’t know why it feels better, but I’m not challenging it. Instead, I’m going to start 2021 with the best intentions and the best plan for success as I’m able. Let’s do this.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at https://kristinbeale.com/. Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.