When the new year arrives, there is often pressure to usher in a “new you” — through resolutions or commitments to do more or less of something. For people living with chronic illness, however, these resolutions can feel overwhelming and hard to stick with given the unpredictable symptoms and frequent medical appointments. Between fatigue from holiday celebrations to navigating health insurance resets, it can seem like there is little energy left for resolutions.

To help relieve some of the “new year, new me,” pressure, we asked our CreakyJoints community for insights. While some mentioned classics like eating healthier and exercising more, most people are choosing to be kinder to their body, listen to their needs, and focus on what they can control in 2024. As Venissa P. wrote, “I don’t do resolutions; I just strive to be a better version of myself than last year.”

While reading these responses, think about what strikes a chord with you and what changes you’d like to make in the new year. And, remember, you have a community here with you along the journey. As @thordissv wrote, “these are all so good that I am going to save this post and look at it regularly to remind myself on how to better manage in 2024.”

Here’s what our community had to share about their plans for managing their chronic illness differently in 2024.

Advocate for Yourself

  • “I want to advocate for myself better with doctors.” — @sfccreativeworks
  • “Learn how to advocate more for the life I want to live with RA.” — @ashleebermudez
  • “I’m trying not to say ‘I’m sorry’ all the time and remind people it’s my illness that is unreliable, not me.” — @mstraceelyn
  • “Not explaining myself to those who don’t have my best interests at heart. Not apologizing for requiring accommodations, especially those concerning COVID.” — @dada.karen
  • “Continuing to self-advocate my needs more and possibly helping to generate change/improvements for all chronic illness patients (especially autoimmune disease patients) within the medical world.” — Jenny S.

Focus on What You Can Do

  • “To do what I can to help myself.” — Ross B.
  • “To focus on what I can do not what I no longer can.” — @sue_d_r
  • “Stop focusing on what I did to cause a flare. Flares happen and they are often out of our control.” — @arathi_jayaram
  • “To not be so hard on myself, this isn’t my fault.” — @sheyhouston
  • “Focus on things I can control. Acceptance.” — @jpet2014

Be Kind to Your Body

  • “To be kinder to my body when it’s going through a flare. And also being more aware about over doing things when I’m in a flare, which will almost always make it worse.” — @chronicmigrainegirl
  • “Be gentle with myself and be thankful for what I am able to do.” — @jenlbaron
  • “I want to be more accepting and less harsh with myself when things won’t work out.” — @oreldoron
  • “Be kinder to myself regarding my health both physically and mentally. also to be more honest and assertive about my needs.” — @sacrotales
  • “To be kind to myself.” — @zoe_holvey
  • “Practice more self-compassion.” — Ann H.

Pay Attention to Your Body

  • “Not to overdo it and rest more.” — @diana.himes
  • “Listen to my body.” — @stella677
  • “Less busy, more rest. I promise this year I’m putting myself first.” — @little_hippie_girl1
  • “Less relying on pain meds, more use of equipment that makes daily living more tolerable. Ordered a stool for kitchen. Love cooking and won’t give it up because I can’t stand up for any length of time now.” — Rhonda T.
  • “I don’t make resolutions, but this year I’m going to be paying less attention to my “creaky joints.” When I think about it and all it has taken from me, the more I hurt. The more I hurt, the less control I have over my mental and physical health. So, this year I resolve to pay it all less attention.” — NH W.
  • “Recognize and respect the connection between emotional health, mental health, and physical pain.” — @msamandagreene

Make Dietary Changes

  • “Eat better!” — @dedradavis
  • “Listen to my body and commit to eating the foods I know make me feel better. For me this looks like more beans, lentils, nuts, ginger, spinach, grains, eggs, and salmon. I’m beginning to see a pattern of more folate helping my symptoms. There’s so much the medical field is still discovering; I find it more and more important to do my own research since RA looks so different for each of us and can have underlying issues.” — @dianaterry
  • “Drink less alcohol.” — @rachaeljonesy
  • “Eat healthier.” — Jan N.

Exercise More

  • “I have humbled myself enough to purchased a walking frame to help me regain the confidence to go out for a walk without the fear of falling.” — Ruth W.
  • “Move more…no matter what. Even a short walk will help.” — @chrissib65
  • “I’ve been telling myself ‘you easily sit on your phone for 30 minutes, you can walk or workout for that amount of time.’ [It’s] still hard though.” — @dianaterry
  • “Exercise and stretch more.” — @coletteweaver
  • “I don’t tend to make resolutions, but last year I felt I needed some help getting back to being stronger and I finally advocated for myself with my rheumatologist to get some PT and it’s making a world of difference. I intend to carry that into the new year, along with working on managing stress. These are key items for me. I hope everyone here finds their own path to some comfort and relief.” — Tom Z.
  • “Less anxiety more exercise.” — Anne W.
  • “More exercise less anxiety.” — Anne M.
  • “Move more and try to gain some stamina.” — @canisfamiliaris27

Most importantly, wrote @Dianaterry, we “wish you all the best this 2024. We got this!”

Be a More Proactive Patient with PatientSpot

PatientSpot is a patient-led, patient-centered research registry for people living with chronic disease and related conditions. You can participate in voluntary research studies about your health conditions and use the app to track your symptoms, disease activity, and medications — and share with your doctor. Learn more and sign up here.

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