5 Ways to be Chronically Awesome in the New Year

5 Ways to be Chronically Awesome in the New Year

A new year, a new start.

At least that is what people will tell you.

For some reason I struggle with this concept. How can one day change everything?

What people come to realize is that you can change your ambition for about a week, and your New Year’s resolutions fall by the way side. Did you know that 90% of New Year’s resolutions fail? Do you remember your resolution from last year?

We are going to change that.

This New Year I want you to forget about a new year’s resolution.

No the world won’t end without one.

Follow these 5 steps and you will be chronically awesome in the New Year.


  1. Spend time reflecting on what went well last year.

What went well last year? What made you happy? So often people jump right into creating a New Year’s resolution and never step back to reflect on the previous year. Are you thankful for your friends and family? Thankful for less time in the hospital this year? Thankful that you made it through another year? Take small wins. Starting a New Year is not only about setting goals, it is about reflecting on a great 2015.

  1. Create a “jar of happiness” for 2016.

Struggled to find any bit of happiness to reflect on from 2015? It’s OK, we can start now. I will be the first to admit that I did not think of this myself, but this is a great idea. Create a jar of happiness for 2016. Every time something good happens, write it down and put it in the jar. Next year you will have no excuses when reflecting on everything that went well.

This idea was a huge help for me, especially when I have had a year filled with flare ups and doctors appointments. There is always something good that happens throughout the year, it is just a matter of finding it.

Wake up without hitting snooze one day? Write it down.

Get an MRI back that shows no changes? Write it down.

Spend a day with friends and family? Write it down.

Even the smallest things count.

  1. Write the following categories down and rank yourself 1-10 (1=The worst it could have been last year. 10= The best it could have been last year) :
  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Relationships
  4. Spirituality (if you don’t believe in God, what about being mindful?)
  5. Physical Fitness
  6. Mental Health (reading, learning new things)
  1. Screw Year Goals, Aim Small.

The biggest issue with a New Year’s resolution is the length of the goal. What is easier: running a marathon or running 1 mile? Too often people set goals with the best intentions, only to come short because the goals seem unachievable.

Take a look at your rankings. Where was last year great? Where did last year fall short? Pick the areas of your life that were the lowest ranking. Set 1-3 goals which would improve the worst areas of your life. Do not go over 3 goals, we want to make this simple. These goals will be for 60 days, so plan them accordingly. On March 1st review these goals, then set new goals following the same process. If you want to run a marathon, plan for a shorter distance for the 60 day goal. It may even be easier to break the 60 days into weekly goals. The smaller the goal, the more you will stay on track.

  1. Change your mindset, worry about what you can control.

Life with a chronic illness can be one of the most frustrating and the more rewarding journeys. The hardest part for me was to understand that I cannot worry about what I cannot control.

There are areas of your life you can control like your relationships, spirituality, and fitness. Living with chronic illness is about shooting to the moon with the areas of life you can control, and leaving your chronic illness behind on earth.

Making an effort to set and achieve goals can be one of the hardest things to do while having an illness. At times illness can break you down so far that you feel as though you have no choice but to let it rule your life. Goal setting is about finding those moments throughout the year that you can rise up, take control, and live the life of your dreams.

Stay positive, be grateful, and most of all don’t give up.

Happy New Year.


P.S. I have decided to give out my new e-book Diagnosed And Determined (releasing in January 2016) to anyone who comments on this article. Was this helpful? Let me know. 



  1. Cindy Lemoine Says: December 31, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Yes, the article was helpful. It helped with that guilt you tweeted about earlier. I felt guilty that I don’t make resolutions or don’t keep them when I do. You’ve put a positive spin that is very practical and achievable. Just like with fibromyalgia, with any work toward change, one must pace oneself. There must be small steps and celebrating for making progress. Quite a change from beating myself up for moving backward or not at all!

  2. #5 is definitely one I need to remember: giving up control of the things I cannot control.

  3. Thank you David for the great advice. I love the idea of Jar of Happiness for 2016. After writing this response I’m going to find a jar and write down my first big accomplishment of 2016, “Conquering Bartonella.” It’s been a long battle, and I am proud to start the year with something so positive and encouraging! I also lik the idea of reflecting on 2015, since I didn’t have a happiness jar. My husband and I thought of many positive things, despite the many hard times that usually would have come to our mind first. Thank you again!

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