For millions of caregivers, the little New Year’s Resolutions are biggest

Heather Jose photo.

Heather Jose

GOT BIG PLANS for New Year’s Resolutions? Are you already fearing they’ll go bust?

This year: Think small.

Some people don’t like to make these resolutions, but they feel good to me. It’s a chance to think about what I would like to do better and what goals are on my radar screen. This year I have goals related to health, work, and financial matters. None of them are earth shattering—but I have found that the little things matter.

Eternal Clock by Robbert van der Steeg, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Eternal Clock by Robbert van der Steeg, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

When we are in the midst of caregiving, time feels like our enemy—always too little of it. So, in making resolutions, let’s focus on things we actually can fit into our lives. I believe strongly that the best way to be good caregivers is to take a little time for ourselves. As we start 2013—focus on the little.

Five minutes is enough to make a cup of tea, do some push ups, write in a gratitude journal, or pack a healthy lunch. Ten minutes allows me to work up a sweat, plan healthy meals for a week, pray, or chat with a friend. Just a little break—to do a little good—can make a huge difference in mindset.

This year I am rewarding myself for staying on track with my goals and saving money here and there. Rather than pay for a gym membership or a meal plan I am going to pay myself for following through with my own simpler, less-costly goals. At the end of the year I should have a nice little bit of cash for something fun.

That is motivating to me, but you have to find what works for you. Maybe you can plan lunch with a friend or get a pedicure or go to a movie on a regular basis.

With any resolutions, the important thing is to make them obtainable, especially at first. When we start with something that takes all of our willpower, it is inevitable that we will get discouraged and quit. It is easy to revise goals later in the year and make them harder—but it feels like a letdown if we do the reverse.

Keep in mind that taking care of you is essential to taking care of a loved one. We can’t provide care if we become exhausted and find ourselves under the weather.

What are your resolutions? Would you consider making a list of five-minute or ten-minute things that would bring a small dose of health and wellness into your day?

Heather Jose, a 10-year survivor of stage IV breast cancer, wishes you a Happy New Year!


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