Contemplating Goals for 2015
During 2014 I made some good progress on my health goals, starting with gaining strength and improving my walking. In the spring I started Enbrel and my CRP (a blood test my doctor uses to measure inflammation) has declined. While it took some time to work on these goals, I have found that creating some new aspirations for the New Year helps to keep me focused to work on my health every day and also keep the big picture in mind.
In 2015 I want to continue watching my rheumatoid arthritis activity decline (hopefully), build strength, and work on balancing my immune system so that I am generally less sick with infections and bronchial issues. Of course, many aspects of health are out of my control. I’ll continue to take my medications, but it’s not up to me if they work. The best I can do is have regular tests for my inflammation and consult with my doctor.
I can contribute to improving my health by eating well and practicing regular exercise. There’s also more I can do to get additional or better rest, and practice stress management to prevent aggravation of my RA.
For this year, I’m developing a list of actions I can take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The daily activities are top priority habits for supporting my health. The weekly habits can add onto the daily and may even become more frequent. The monthly activities are for helping me to keep the larger picture in my mind and not lose sight of my progress when I have setbacks.
- Take medications. An oldie, but a goodie. I keep a schedule and take my medications at the same time every day to help space them out and maintain a good level of effectiveness.
- Eat well. The worse I eat, the worse I feel and the opposite is also true for me. Sometimes I may splurge, but the better my eating habits the better my health overall.
- Exercise. At least a little exercise each day helps me to feel better and keep my joints moving better. I start the day with some stretches to warm up my bones and do additional exercise later as time and energy permits.
- Track. Keeping a log of my eating and exercise helps me feel accomplished when I’m staying on track. I also find it helps me to identify areas where I can do better (such as cutting down on sweets!).
- Rest. So important! Without enough rest I feel absolutely terrible, with no energy and achier joints. I really need about eight hours sleep. When possible, more is better. At the very least, putting my legs up or sitting quietly can help.
- Laugh. A good day includes a good laugh. It’s good for the body, mind and spirit. Plus, it helps to de-stress to be able to laugh and enjoy life!
- Go swimming. Getting in the pool two to three times a week really helps my mobility, strength and energy. If I can get some time in the whirlpool, even better, as my joints feel so much better in the heat
- Practice meditation. In the past I have found meditation to be helpful for my mental and emotional health, plus it can have pain relieving qualities. Some quiet time to clear my mind also helps with stress management. I’d like to develop a real practice for regular meditation a few times every week.
- Have some fun and de-stress. The week may be busy with work and other responsibilities, but it’s important to get some fun time scheduled with family and friends.
- Assess how I’m feeling. I often forget to take stock and really think about how I’m feeling and any health changes I may have experienced. It also would help to ask my husband if he’s noticed any changes because sometimes he’ll see my RA is doing worse before I do.
- Tweak habits as needed. As part of the assessment, do I need to make any adjustments to my habits? If I slipped in some area, remind myself that I can try, try again and keep at it.
How do you approach New Year’s resolutions, goals or intentions? Any tips you can share for setting aspirational, yet achievable, goals?