Keeping My Goals and Adapting Them to Suit My Needs

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by Halsey Blocher |

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Congratulations! You have completed another rotation around the sun.

Now that the holiday celebrations are over and we have resumed our normal daily schedules, let us turn our attention toward a common practice at this time of year: New Year’s resolutions.

Many people choose to start a new year by setting goals for themselves — typically, these are something they expect will have a positive effect on their daily lives. Eating healthfully, exercising regularly, getting rid of clutter, and learning a new skill are some of the more popular choices.

Or the resolution could be a small one: meeting a friend for coffee, setting aside a few minutes of quiet time each day, or making an effort to be more positive.

Goals are an important part of my life and beneficial to my physical health. My well-being routine includes a series of gentle assisted exercises twice weekly at a local adaptive fitness and therapy center, and passive stretching at home with help from my nurses or a family member.

The desired outcome of this routine is to help me to maintain my limited flexibility and strength so that I can continue to complete some ordinary tasks and recreational activities such as feeding myself, brushing my teeth, and accomplishing small art projects. I am determined about preserving my ability to do these things, and my persistent attitude pushes me to reach my physical wellness goals.

These stretches are necessary, and though the movements are tiring, having accomplished them, I feel more relaxed — an added benefit.

The Adult Day Services program that I attend also helps me to create goals to achieve during the time I spend there. The staff at Turnstone assist me with setting goals that are beneficial to me and they hold me accountable.

Some of the goals on my list are twice weekly attendance at the program and participation in at least one of the planned activities during each visit. These activities include painting, trivia, card games, cookery classes, and a conversation hour.

While these might seem like simple accomplishments, small goals are no less significant than big ones. These specific goals are designed to provide me with opportunities for meaningful social interactions outside of my house, to learn new skills, and to thrive as a member of the community. As a self-proclaimed social butterfly, these experiences are an enriching part of my life. By fulfilling my goal of attending the program, my friends and I can benefit spiritually and emotionally from our time together.

One of my goals is to commit to a weekly journal entry. I have kept a journal on and off for most of my life and restarted the practice last summer.

I had intended to write in it almost every day. However, I discovered that this wasn’t realistic. Life gets busy sometimes and doesn’t always allow for time on the pages of my journal. My body is prone to fatigue, which makes it difficult to lift a pen or turn the pages of the book.

So, I decided that I would need to adjust my goal a little. My new weekly objective is better suited to those times when my schedule gets hectic, or my arm and hand need to rest.

Some weeks I have more time and energy to devote to writing. I look forward to focusing on this activity, which I find immensely enjoyable. Despite the effort needed to write by hand, I’ve always loved the feeling of the pen moving across the paper as I jot down whatever is on my mind.

While I didn’t make a new goal yet this year, I’m committed to keeping the ones I already have and adapting them when necessary.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? What is it, and how’s it going so far? Let me know in the comments below.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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