6 Tips For Turning A New Year’s Resolution Into Reality

Release date: 12/1/2011

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s almost time to dig out those champagne flutes and ring in the New Year. In 2012, you may hope to save money or eat better, like so many people. But why not take this opportunity to add a Parkinson’s-related resolution to your list?

Since a new year is a time to make a fresh start, at least in our perspective, consider what you’d like to see take shape over the next twelve months, and beyond, and how you might make that happen. To get started, identify a personal goal that you’d like to reach. Then, use the following six tips to craft a resolution that can stand the test of time. Each tip also includes a suggestion on how to improve upon a possible resolution.

1. Be specific

One of the keys to successful long-range change, experts say, is to set specific, short-term goals. By committing to precise actions that are doable, you’re more likely to stick with it and, over time, see real results.

Instead of: Get physically active.
Try this: I will attend a tai chi class Monday and Wednesday, and take a 30-minute walk Tuesday and Thursday.

2. Get others involved

Make friends with someone who is handling their Parkinson’s well and who has accomplished what you’re trying to achieve. Then, ask that individual to check in with you once a week to help you stay motivated and focused.

Instead of: Keep in touch with family and friends.
Try this: I will connect with people who understand my fears and challenges. To do this, I will attend a regular support group and explore new relationships with those who understand what I’m going through.

3. Take positive steps

It’s the journey that matters most, not the destination, or so the saying goes. If you don’t feel empowered, or get a sense of satisfaction out of what you’re doing along the way, you probably won’t stick with it.

Instead of: Get educated about Parkinson’s.
Try this: I will stay focused on being an active participant in my healthcare by learning about clinical trials that are of potential benefit to me, visiting the website of the National Parkinson Foundation once a week to read up on the news, and attending local seminars and talks on Parkinson’s.

4. Keep it fresh

According to a classic study on resolutions, more than half of all people who set a New Year’s resolution quit it within three months. To avoid running out of steam, set aside a few hours each month to think up ways to breathe new life into your efforts. Use the review time as a way to gauge what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.

Instead of: Stop worrying about my future.
Try this: I will express my feelings by keeping a journal and signing up for creative writing seminars offered online or at the community college.

5. Pinpoint your true priorities

Ask yourself why you want to accomplish this goal. Understanding where your resolution fits into the big picture may help keep you inspired. Make sure your aspiration ties into what really matters to you.

Instead of: Get organized.
Try this: I will set up advance healthcare directives, including a living will and a healthcare power of attorney, so that my family knows my wishes; or, I will research and hire a good caregiver so that I can remain independent for as long as possible.

6. Be good to yourself

Making lasting change can be tough. Most likely, you’ll encounter obstacles and feelings of discouragement along the way. To keep moving forward, think of ways you can reward yourself. Then pick the one you like best and make it a habit.

Instead of: Gain control over my symptoms.
Try this: I will discuss my medication regimen with my doctor to see if any adjustments need to be made. If I follow exact instructions for every medication I take for one month, I earn a massage (or any other enjoyable activity).

Now, tell us what your resolution is and how you will make it happen! Happy New Year!