Debunking New Year's Resolutions
Updated: Feb 1
by Melissa Velasco, RN
Editor’s Note: The Endometriosis Foundation of Houston has invited guest bloggers to share their work, expert opinions, and thoughts with our endo community as a part of our Tea Talk Series. These "tea talks" cover a wide range of health topics meant to educate and inform our community. For more information, visit https://www.efhou.org/events.
New Year’s resolutions are a formality for many people, but is it realistic to make resolutions in the setting of chronic pain and endometriosis? In short, the answer is yes, but with a few caveats.
Endometriosis, among many other chronic pain conditions, can be debilitating for the people who have it. As in, curled up in a ball on the floor debilitating. Endometriosis can also be an invisible illness in that it is not visibly obvious to an outside person who does not experience the disease. Yet still, it has affected millions of people and accounts for billions of dollars lost annually due to the economic burdens it causes.
So, is it realistic to make resolutions when faced with constant uncertainty and physical pain? In this post, I will discuss three things that will help you determine what you can do to set realistic resolutions.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Although this phrase is overused, it remains valid and is the most important thing to consider when setting goals and making resolutions. A phrase so simple, yet it seems to be hard to do. It’s so common to be critical of ourselves, but what we need to remember is that we did not bring this disease upon ourselves. And we should not let it deter us from dreaming and setting goals.
It just means that our ideal timeline of accomplishing a goal may be pushed back a little. In most cases, a flare may stop you from being able to accomplish something on a specific day, but eventually, the flare will pass and you will be able to pick up from where you left off. You just have to keep this in mind when setting your goals or making resolutions for the new year. Make your timelines flexible, and give yourself some grace.
Avoid Resolutions that Induce Anxiety
New Year’s resolutions are usually made to change things that we know we could do better.
Eat better. Work-out more. Read often. Meal prep every week. Save more money.
It’s a never-ending list of wants. But in the setting of chronic disease, it can likely lead to anxiety from a continuous need to feel accomplished and normal—or the continuous feeling of being left behind. The reality is that resolutions are hard to maintain for everyone.
So many people end up giving up or straying away from resolutions because they become overwhelmed by the work it takes to maintain them. With endometriosis, you may find that you are too fatigued to complete the tasks needed to make your goals happen. For example, changing your diet might mean you have to cook for yourself more often. But if you are too tired to try a recipe that falls within your new diets’ guidelines, then you may resort to your usual diet. Don’t be discouraged by this. Take it day by day – you have 365 days in a year after all.
Ultimately, resolutions in the setting of chronic pain should not add to your stresses and anxieties because that can ultimately end up increasing your symptoms. Instead, resolutions need to be a source of empowerment and add value to your life.
Find a buddy or online community
Having an accountability partner is undoubtedly the best way to maintain goals and resolutions. But aside from the accountability, they are perfect for helping encourage you through the difficult moments. But if you do not have someone immediately within your inner circle who “gets it,” then the online endometriosis community is a wonderful place to look.
Specifically, the online Instagram endometriosis community is incredible for finding support and understanding. Though many accounts provide us all with wonderful education and advocacy, there are thousands of individual accounts of endometriosis warriors who are looking for support and sharing their stories.
Aside from Instagram, many Facebook groups are catered to certain states, regions, and cities, so you might be able to find a local accountability partner and friend. For example, the Houston Area Endometriosis Group has over 400 members and the daily posts are filled with people who are looking for support and encouragement too.
Thriving with Endometriosis
All in all, endometriosis does not need to dictate whether you set goals and accomplish them. It may impact how you get there, but it should not keep you from making resolutions. I know that during a flare it may seem impossible to think of the possibilities, but the flare will eventually let up and your dreams will still be there.
In the end, resolutions can still be made in the setting of endometriosis – and they should be made, but with support, flexibility, and little grace. I have full faith in the Eighty-Six the Endo Weekly Planner and its ability to bring value to endometriosis patients as they try to thrive in all aspects of life (personal, family, career, school, etc.). If you are interested in ordering yours today, check out my website. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging me on Instagram.
Melissa Velasco is a Registered Nurse with over seven years of experience in Oncology care. In the past two years, Melissa has dedicated her spare time to learning, educating, and advocating for proper endometriosis care. This dedication stems from her 15-year battle with this disease that she only learned about three years ago. Since receiving her endometriosis diagnosis in late 2017, she has started her blog (eightysixtheendo.com), volunteered for the American End of Endo Project, and become a member of the Board of Advisors for the Endometriosis Foundation of Houston.