Multiple Sclerosis: It's OK to Slip Up in Your New Year's Resolution

Vicki Health Guide
  • "Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow." ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

    Trying new things is almost standard procedure for people with MS. We have new symptoms that may or may not come and go and new ways to accomplish the same old activities. We see the world in new and different ways and the world sees us in different ways, too. Let's be resolved to improve our lives from the inside and out.

    Many people make resolutions. The tradition dates back to at least 2000 BC when the new year brought with it resolutions. Of course, then the new year was scheduled in spring and the most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

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    Today, the New Year is in winter and the most popular resolutions center on the resolver losing weight and quitting smoking. Both of these are noble resolutions, and when we are successful, we are improved. However, by now — that is, mid February — many, perhaps most, New Year's Resolutions are no more than a distant memory. Each person who made a resolution wanted an improved life and intended to make it happen. Why didn't it work?

    Many people who make resolutions are just caught up in the season, and when asked about resolutions, they simply state wishes, not true intentions. The resolutions that fall first are those fantasies that include no promises of doing the work to accomplish the goal. They are just fun fantasies.

    study reminds us it takes 21 days to make something a habit and six weeks to actually make it part of our personality. And that is 21 days or six weeks of real work. A resolution with a chance of success is a firm determination to achieve the result.

    Another theory is that people are subconsciously afraid of change. MS is a promise of constant change that is difficult to be controlled. For people with MS, change is often tiring, frightening, and inevitable.
    Dr. Timothy Wolff, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says “As the proverb goes: the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” He continues, “So, make sure the first step is doable.”

    Maybe losing 50 pounds is too much. What about losing five pounds. Then when it works, try it again. Remember, it takes work and time.

    For someone with MS, a typical resolution may be to reduce stress. That is ambitious and needs to be done in attainable steps. The first step may be to ask for help, which is hard enough for anyone.
    If you slip, take a deep breath and try again tomorrow. One slip doesn't mean it's over.

    New Year's Day is a fine day for resolutions, but every day is a new day for resolutions or adjustments to existing ones.  Decide each day how you want to live that day, and every day after. Adjust your goals as your MS adjusts your abilities, and have the courage to stop, rest, and, if it is important, try again tomorrow.

    Notes and Links:

    2008 Article

    2007 Article

Published On: February 16, 2010