It’s a new year and with this often comes aspirations for a fresh start. Weight loss, a new job and getting fit are often popular choices but having Lupus may mean your aspirations are entirely different. Maybe you want to reduce your joint pain, get off of one of your medications or try a few dietary changes to see if it helps to ease your symptoms? All of these goals are perfectly reasonable for someone with Lupus but how will you make them achievable?
We never plan to fail but we often fail to plan!
Unfortunately despite good intentions we often hit a wall by the end of January when it comes to resolutions. Self-doubt creeps in… I can’t do this (I have failed in the past); it won’t work (nothing ever does). These negative thoughts mean we stay right where we are and because of this nothing changes! Making changes is hard, but if we cut things into bite size pieces its all a lot more manageable. Instead of being plagued by self-doubt make a plan to help support you during these changes.
What is top of your health list?
The first thing I recommend is deciding what you would like to achieve. Dream big and just push those doubts aside for a minute. Give yourself some time to really think about it. You may have a very general goal and aim to be healthier this year, or you may have something really specific like reducing your joint pain enough to get off of prednisolone. Now that’s a goal worth aiming for!
How are you going to get there?
Once you have your goal you need to create a timeline and work out how you could get there. You need to make every step achievable and within reach. What is one small step you could take to get to your number one goal? Start off with really small things; this makes even a marathon task appear much easier. For example if my goal is to reduce joint pain then I probably need to think about what triggers the joint pain. Is it stress or maybe my diet? What can I do to change these things? You may find doing a bit of research helps you to learn more about how to create change around your chosen goal. After you have worked this out you need to determine the second step and third and so on until you have a more complete plan of action.
Remember, the key to any change is to plan HOW it’s going to happen!
Let’s just say you want to cut grains out of your diet this year, this is something I highly recommend if you do have Lupus. Your first step could be to switch to gluten free bread, next step throw out all the pasta you have and get a list together of possible substitutes- you could try spiralising vegetables instead of having pasta. Next step would be getting rid of rice; you can substitute with cauliflower rice and see if you like that. Can you see how slowly, slowly you are cutting more grains out of your routine and introducing new ways of cooking?
What if I hit a roadblock?
Life will always have its twist’s and turns and you do have to learn to roll with the punches. Accept that at times you may need to be flexible around your goals and make adjustments to suit the circumstances. As everyone with Lupus knows the condition can be quite unpredictable so we can’t always expect things to run to plan. Don’t let this deter you, just jump straight back on the path and keep your eye on the prize! Set yourself a time each month to check in and see if you are doing your set tasks, this is a good way of knowing how you are progressing.
To help you reach your goals download a copy of my health planner document.