New Years is the time when everyone makes resolutions to change their lives with publicly (or privately) stated goals. Sadly the statistics show that most people who make New Year’s resolutions stop by the middle of February and many never get started again.
But what if we took a different look at our resolutions with IBD? Instead of making year-long goals, what if we broke them down and just promised to do one thing each day to better ourselves with our disease?
We all know how difficult living with Crohn’s can be. It’s not just a 24/7 job, but it can also be a 24/7 roller coaster ride. One hour we can be fine, the next we can be on our way to the hospital. We just never know what is around the corner. So is it fair to set out year-long resolutions when we don’t know what is ahead?
This year I have goals, and perhaps you should as well. Without goals, we lack a sense of purpose and drive to do better in our lives. Sometimes we need to stop looking so far in the future with the year-long tasks which are bound to fail and maybe start looking a little more short term. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, let’s make daily decisions to do better.
There are 365 days in one year. That means we have 365 chances to better our lives with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. While we might not be well enough to take on significant tasks or long-term projects all the time, what if we were just going to try our best to do one thing better each day?
Even if we only completed a single task to better our lives 75 percent of the days this year, we would have made 274 steps forward to manage our Crohn’s disease better and improve our quality of life. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a good deal and one that I am going to try this year.
We never know what is ahead of us. The laundry list of symptoms can start at any moment. Whether it’s the pain, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, or many, many more, we might still be able to get even just one small task done. It might be as simple as sharing your story with others, sending a quick email, or another small step forward we have to try.
So what are some of the things we can do during the year on a daily basis that can improve life with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis? Here are a few quick suggestions to help get you started:
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood
- Plan out your meals ahead of time
- Make a smoothie
- Reach out to a fellow IBD patient
- Learn to meditate and calm your mind
- Go for a run or workout
- Talk to a friend you’ve meant to reach out to
- Volunteer at a hospital to help others
- Start your day with hydration
- Do 20 minutes of yoga
- Sign up for a health class
So here is the challenge: take out a piece of paper and just start writing all the things that you believe can improve your life. These should be daily tasks to be completed in less than 60 minutes and/or things that can be part of your daily routine.
After you write down all the things you believe can improve your life, start to put them into action. Add them to your calendar and set a reminder notification on your phone. This way you’ll have a gentle reminder that it’s time to improve your life by completing a small task.
You’ll be amazed at the improvements that you might see in just a short amount of time and how life has improved with Crohn’s disease. Life isn’t always about these large projects and challenges. Many times it’s about the small stuff, and when you add up all the little daily tasks you can complete, it can make a big difference in your life.
Brian Greenberg was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 11. His freshman year of college, he began a roller coaster ride of flares, hospitals stays, major surgeries, and more, with brief breaks of good health. After having an ostomy surgery 6 years ago, making it permanent 3 years ago, he is happy with his quality of life and enjoys helping others with their health journeys. When his health cooperates, he enjoys triathlons, hiking, climbing, skiing, and more.