Helpful Hints: Community Wisdom – New Intentions and Goals for the New Year

By Spondylitis Association of America

Friday, January 24, 2020

Helpful Hints is a recurring feature aimed at sharing our community’s knowledge and experiences. The start of each new year offers a fresh start, and opportunities to set new intentions and goals. In this installment, we posed the following question to our online community. “If you’re someone who sets intentions, what will you be focusing on this year and beyond?” We share a sample of responses with our thanks. We hope you find them helpful and inspiring! Have your own to share? Email them to us at!

Developing a better sleep/rest routine AND learning more about meditation and breathing techniques.
~Caroline U.
I do need to say no more often. I’m definitely being more aware of protecting me, and that often requires a “NO”!! Other people may not understand because, I look normal, but they aren’t dealing with a painful chronic condition.... and I am!
~Lynda K.
I am actually someone who enjoys a good resolution and I work at it all year if I have to. In 2012, I wanted to try my biggest resolution to quit smoking after my rheumy explained how bad it was for my AS. About 4-5 months before the end of the year I started things off by moving to lights and sometimes having 1 smoke instead of 2. On January 1 I was finally ready to start the patch and gum. My last cigarette was finally on January 3, 2012, and I have never relapsed. This year my resolution was to spend less time on my cell phone and social media. I have been doing things like keeping my cell phone in my purse, but I still find myself playing more than I should. So this week I made a special Facebook account that I can just use for support group stuff and I was able to cut my friends on my regular page down to just 15. I am hoping these things make a difference and I can spend more time in the real world with my family and less time online.
~Kristen R.
I have decided to forgo the tradition of making resolutions. I have found that, in the past, once I break the resolution, I just forget about it all together. Instead I decided to have a specific focus. There is so much that can get us down with AS, that I decided I want to focus on a piece of joy in each day. Even if I’m having a bad AS day, there’s always something I can be grateful for or something that will make me could be my family, my favorite blanket or the way my dog loves me when I come home from work! I feel like when I focus on the hard times, it really brings my mood down. If I focus on something good, I feel so much better. We all have to live with AS, but we don't have to let it rule us! We can choose to find joy in each day.
~Robyn W.
I personally have always thought resolutions, and such are setting up for failure—now living with AS I would never do these! The goal for me/us can be minute by minute. Get up and shower no matter how you feel, even if it’s to put clean PJs on and get back in the bed. To live each day the best that I can depending on how I’m feeling that day. To never let AS “have me.” My saying will always be AS has my body but not me! I’m happy to share that statement with all. Focus on that for the year and always.
~Meloni T.
To fully embrace self-compassion and acceptance. To minimize setbacks by not pushing through flare ups. To be my own advocate. To continue to educate my family and friends regarding my condition and needs. My new motto is "sometimes I can, and sometimes I can't."
~Laura W.

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