Goals for the New Year

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on January 05, 2022 # Lifestyle

Kristin outside using a handcycleThere’s something about a new year that makes me want to make good changes, start healthy habits, and/or enact a new tradition for the upcoming year. I’m a sucker for New Year’s resolutions, I just am. January is our chance to start over fresh, and the end of the holiday season leaves me feeling extra inspired to open up a new chapter.

If you’re like me and you jump on the “new year, new me” bandwagon with a 5-10 item list of healthy personal changes every January, maybe you can also relate to those good intentions falling by the wayside sooner than anticipated. My resolution last year was to get a massage, in the name of self-care and tight shoulder muscles, every month. That tradition lasted all of two months before I wasn’t able to scrape up the justification for it anymore.

It’s the thought that counts, though, Kristin.

That might be true, but my sheer abandonment of those good intentions is a suggestion that maybe they also weren’t so solid, to begin with. Here, now, I’m giving you permission to stop blaming yourself for losing track, and to redirect that energy toward making more solid and attainable changes.

  1. Pick the right stuff for your list. This is the time to picture what you want your situation to look like, and what you’re willing to devote time and energy to. Make yourself a list of goals that are specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound. If your goal is to lose weight, try something like “lose 10 pounds by the Fourth of July.”
  2. And write them down. This could look like a bullet list in the notes of your phone, a picture collage of your goals (“vision board”) or, like mine, a written list by my computer. I get so much satisfaction from scratching off completed chores from the list that the extra effort and lack of pictures is a good sacrifice. Scratching lines from that list is my drug.
  3. Break them up. If scratching off items on a list is what I call a “drug,” believe I’m going to break my goals into small, feasible steps so I can get my fix. For a smaller example, I bumped into another car last month, and need to replace my bumper. Instead of adding “repair car damage” to my list, I have “call the body shop,” “make an appointment,” “pay an arm and a leg,” then “get a new bumper.” That’s an example of my overkill, but breaking down the steps like that might work for you, too. If you’re going to take a drug, first try my drug of Productivity.
  4. Be mindful. Instagram reels, right now, are my time-suck. My husband and I send each other reels to each other like it’s a second job, and I have a personal [and fruitless] goal find and send him a funny reel that he hasn’t seen yet. In practice, that looks like me spending a lot of time scrolling past the cats, watching lots of pranks, and deciding what’s going to make him laugh. It’s a lot of effort, and it requires nothing of my intelligence, but it makes us both happy. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing and for you to cut all mindless activity from your life, but just manage it in a way that you don’t overconsume and lose track of your goals.
  5. Have accountability with yourself or someone else. Telling someone about your journey toward improvement will increase the likelihood that you’ll stay on the path. I can vouch for the fact that there’s nothing more annoying than my husband saying, “weren’t you going to work out today?” when I’m trying to be lazy, and I’m trying to procrastinate. His awareness of my laziness, along with the verbal accountability, is sometimes what I need to get off my butt and ride my bike. Annoying, but motivating. Sharing your journey will open you up for support from others, and it’ll encourage you toward it.

You don’t have to wait until January 2023 to start a new habit either, guys. The good news: February 1 is the new January 1. Or, kick the New You off on Monday, the beginning of a new week. I, for one, have a resolution I’m saving for the beginning of March: back to outside workouts. The winter is almost over, guys. While we wait for the warmth to come back, though, let’s make the best of it.

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://www.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.