New Year, Same Old Narcolepsy
Last updated: April 2023
Ringing in the New Year can be a great opportunity to set intentions for the upcoming year.
After the whirlwind of the holidays, I can end up totally exhausted. From baking and cooking more during this time, to increased events, and even cropped-up deadlines for the end of the year... it is easy for me to feel overwhelmed!
Even saying ‘no’ to events during the holiday season can feel terrible. But overextending myself results in uncomfortable situations and affects my physical health and safety.
I will always have narcolepsy
"This year will be different," I would tell myself when setting goals for the New Year.
Yes, many things will come and go in my life, but one thing is certain: I will always have narcolepsy.
My narcolepsy onset in 2016, and since then I’ve learned how to live with it a bit better. But I am still limited by my symptoms, considerably. Large projects are more difficult to undertake with this condition, but I try not to let that stop me.
Setting goals for the New Year
Here are a few techniques I use when setting goals for the New Year:
Decide on intentions for the year
Is it a focus on health? Wealth? Creating? Playing? Community? There are so many options when it comes to setting intentions for the new year. These are just a handful of examples.
It’s important when setting goals to take into consideration the effects of narcolepsy.
Is it difficult to drive in the evenings with narcolepsy? Then maybe don’t sign up for that in-person nighttime pottery class. Are there ways you can access materials and instruction from home? This is just one example of redesigning a goal to make it more accessible.
Set larger goals, then break them down into smaller steps
The idea of change can be daunting. The truth is, even if we resist change, we are still changing and learning a little every day. Even if we aren’t, the world around us is.
The best way to create intentional change in life is through small habits. Break up larger goals into small steps. Writing a book? Set a goal to write just 5 minutes per day. If you miss a day, no need to beat yourself up – just make sure to get your writing in the next day.
This technique is especially important for those of us with narcolepsy. Most days I struggle to get my basic needs met. Self-improvement that is based on shame and self-blame can be difficult to stick to. Which brings me to my next point...
I like to set measurable milestones when working on a new goal. When I make it to a milestone, I reward myself! Any kind of progress is reason to celebrate.
Some examples of rewards I’ve used in the past include a thrift-store shopping spree, a massage, new arts and craft supplies, and even taking myself out to a nice meal.
What are your 2023 goals?
Do you have goals for the New Year? How does your narcolepsy affect how you set or achieve your goals? Feel free to share your experience with our community in the comments below!
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