Updating Goals for 2018

For four years running (2014 Goals, 2015 Goals, 2016 Goals, 2017 Goals), I’ve taken the time to review goals set for the year, examine how I did, and set goals for the coming year.

One really important insight from this practice is that a year doesn’t always go as planned! For example, in the middle of last year my husband and I purchased a home and moved—something we had not anticipated doing. It was a great surprise, but it also added in extra stress that I didn’t intend.

The bottom line is that planning and setting goals is great because it gives me direction, but it’s also important to remain flexible because the unexpected (for better or worse) also happens as part of the spice of life.

Unfortunately, like the previous year, it was a tough time for my rheumatoid arthritis. I had quite a few flares and periods of feeling terrible. I’m now in the middle of updating my treatment to see if that can help. While it was a good year for life, it was harder than the previous year for living with RA. My plans were to have a better year, so this is probably the biggest disappointing result.

From the good news perspective, I continued well with tracking my diet (but did not lose as much weight as I would have liked, probably also related to my RA difficulties) and did well with maintaining my exercises. I also had a few refresher physical therapy sessions that were great for encouraging me on my path and providing different exercise ideas to throw into the mix.
As a way to organize myself, below I follow the previous pattern of developing a list of actions I can take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis during 2018, with adjustments from last year. 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.

Daily Habits:

  • Take medications. 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. Last year I focused on improving my regularity and did well, so will keep up the practices I have established for staying on track.
  • Eat well. To me this is still vital every day because my food choices throughout the day affect how I feel. I maintained a fairly good diet this year, so I feel confident that I can continue. I may consult with a dietitian on what I can do to stay healthy while losing a few extra pounds.
  • Exercise. I feel pretty good about my exercise habits and it’s a great help that during the warm months I now have an outdoor pool to use where I live. This year I want to do better at exercising on non-aquatic exercise days and continuing some activity (gently and carefully) through flares. I also want to mix in some different exercises and test myself a bit more.
  • Keep Tracking. Keeping a log of my eating and exercise was extremely helpful in keeping on track and noting my improvements. Will continue!
  • Rest. Rest is crucial! It really makes a huge difference in feeling better and maintaining my energy. I know I need to do better and get more rest every night. I made some improvements on this, but there is more to do. One goal is to trim my commitments somewhat so that I have more down time.
  • Focus on quality time. I made a lot of strides by focusing on quality time, especially with my loved ones, but I want to do more. I am working on having few commitments so that I can spend more energy on the most important ones.

Weekly Habits:

  • Go swimming. Increasing my swimming has been hugely helpful for my strength and managing stiffness and pain in my joints. For most of the year, I was able to go several times a week and I want to continue this habit with visits to the pool at least three times a week.
  • Practice meditation. To be honest, my meditation practice this year sucked. I kept making excuses about not having the time and energy to practice. This year I want to focus more on meditation and make it a regular habit. No excuses!
  • Have some fun and de-stress. This is always an important goal! At this point, I don’t have a lot of travel plans, so want to have some more fun and relaxation at home. My focus is really about trying to recover from a hard RA year and refill my energy bucket.

Monthly Check-in:

  • Assess how I’m feeling. Last year I struggled with a lot of flares and annoying illnesses. When I’m feeling this way I need to pay attention and do more self-care. Powering through can be important, but so is taking care of myself.
  • Tweak habits as needed. Ideally, I need to check in on my goals more frequently than once a year. We all get caught up in our daily lives, but it’s important to take care of my health so that I can live the life I want to live.

How did you do with your goals, health or otherwise? What do you want to do differently in 2018 and how will you keep yourself on track? Let’s work together to support our health goals for this year!

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