A common topic this time of year is New Year Resolutions. I’m not a huge fan of new year resolutions, at least not for me personally. I feel that they are so often broken within the first few months. Rather than making a big resolution, I prefer to set goals for the year. I also think it’s important to remember the accomplishments made from the previous year.
For 2019 I have a list of accomplishments, some of which are related to goals I had set, and others are positive changes or accomplishments that I want to recognize even if they were not actual goals from the outset.
- Increased reading – I didn’t count the number of books I read in 2019, but I know that it was a substantial increase from the previous year. Reading is something I enjoy and find relaxing and/or interesting depending on the book I am reading, it is also something that is easy to ignore when life gets busy.
- Made mental health a priority – Mental health is something I will always have to prioritize if I want to remain well. The good thing is that it doesn’t always have to be hard. I go to therapy each week, which is something I actually really enjoy and get a lot out of. I also make decisions that are helpful for my mental health, such as trying to have a fairly regular sleep schedule. It is helpful to have an understanding partner, my husband knows me well including my emotional limits. For example, he knows that a crowded store is extremely draining for me, due in large part to social anxiety, and will volunteer to do any remaining errands alone so that I can go home, take a few minutes to reset, and get things done away from additional stressors.
- Had a level mood the majority of the year – Largely because of making mental health a priority, I was able to have a relatively level mood all year. No hospitalizations (day or inpatient) for the second year in a row! This is especially an accomplishment because this year we had some stressful life events. Our roof had to be replaced and the support beams needed to be reinforced, but they didn’t plan correctly so a two day project turned into something spanning months. Another stressful event was when my sweet cat Seamus had to be in the hospital for 6 days due to an acute on chronic kidney failure.
- Took several vacations – We usually don’t take vacations, this year it just so happened that we were able to take two vacations and a few overnight trips.
- Spent quality time with my cats/was the best cat mom I could be – With Seamus being sick I spend more time (if that is possible) making sure the cats are happy. My husband and I pestered the vet until they had Seamus approved to be in a study for a new drug to treat kidney disease. It seems to really be helping him.
- Focus on not letting social anxiety limit my chances to enjoy life – My therapist and I are focusing a lot of social anxiety and I won’t be able to achieve some of my other 2020 goals without taking away the power I give my social anxiety (which is, admittedly, a lot more difficult than I would like).
- Do what I can to maintain a level mood/continue to make mental health a priority – By going to therapy, being med compliant, and allowing myself to take little breaks as needed, I hope to go another year without a debilitating major depressive episode.
- Join a book club – This is a goal I have in therapy. I love to read and have been wanting to join a book club but the social aspect of it holds me back. It is my goal to join a book club regardless of social anxiety.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter – Same as I said for the book club, this is a goal in therapy for an activity that I have wanted to do for a long time.
- Eat healthy – As a vegetarian who enjoys cooking, I tend to eat healthy meals. My down fall is cookies and candy and sugary Starbucks drinks. I usually try to keep these treats out of the house, but that’s hard to do, especially at this time of year. I have recently switched my drink to one with less sugar.
- Make fitness a priority – Like so many people, I would love to lose weight and be toned, but that’s not really what I mean when I say I want to make fitness a priority. It seems that every year I get older there are more aches and pains. I want to dedicate myself to doing things that I think would be good for me. Maybe some yoga, strength training, cardio of some sort, and of course punching my punching bag. If I can be fit enough to be able to carry what I want and not get a sore back, I’ll be happy.
You might notice that I did not talk about goals from 2019 that I did not achieve. That’s not because I’m perfect, but rather because I don’t think it is useful for me to look at my failures, especially since I’m really hard on myself. I figure if it’s something that I still would like to achieve, I’ll add it to my 2020 goals.
Good luck to everyone who has given themselves a resolution or goals for 2020!