By Avery Keatley
So, you’ve taken the plunge. You’ve set your goals for the New Year, and this is going to be the year you really stick to them. Really, you’re serious this time around. Congratulations on your far-sightedness and determination. You’ve checked off a few goals already—you brought salad to lunch every day this week—and you’re feeling strong. But are you’re worried how long it will last? Are you wondering if asthma will hold you back from achieving your goals?
We’re here to encourage you to stick to your goals, however ambitious, this year. Whether you plan to scale the Dawn Wall of El Capitan, ride a motorcycle to the Arctic Circle, or simply start going for a walk around the block, we’re here to support your endeavors, and offer a few tips of advice.
Think in the Long-Term
Resolutions are too often thought of as instant, sporadic changes. People use abstract terms to describe their goals, which is fine, as long as you also have specific ideas on how to reach those goals. For example, the most often cited New Year’s Resolution in America is to lose weight. That sounds like a noble idea, but have you considered how you’ll change your behavior on a daily basis to achieve this? Saying you want to lose weight is one thing—committing to make changes in your everyday life is something entirely different, which leads us to our next tip.
Set Small Goals
You want to climb Mt. Everest? Good for you. But if you don’t get off the couch to start walking around the block (then the park, then the neighborhood), how are you going to get up the mountain? No one is immediately an expert at something—they work at it. Yes, some people might be predisposed to certain things (standing 5’5”, it’s unlikely that I’d cut it in the WNBA, where the average height is 5’11”) but that doesn’t exclude these people from having to work towards their goals. Breaking goals into bite size pieces puts you in a better mindset to tackle them.
So now, you’ve set specific, small goals, but you still think that asthma might hold you back. Here are some ways to stick to your goals and your asthma treatment in the New Year.
First, stick to your medications. Carry a rescue inhaler if you need to, and make sure you’re taking only the dosages as prescribed by your physician. You might have days when you feel better, but that doesn’t mean you should skip your medication. Asthma is still present even if you don’t have symptoms. It’s better to always keep those symptoms in check rather than dealing with an exacerbation.
Secondly, eat right. There are no foods known to cure asthma, but eating right can certainly help you feel better and lose weight, which in turn could help increase lung function. Trade a ham and cheese sandwich for grilled chicken with spinach. Swap fries for homemade sweet potato chips. Switch out the cookie for a piece of melon or berries. On another note, don’t limit yourself to a few repeated meals—Pinterest is an engaging way to find creative, healthy meals.
Thirdly, move a little. Find an exercise you really enjoy. I started doing yoga in the end of 2014, and now it’s one of my goals to do yoga at least three times a week. I’d never tried it before, but it turned out that I really enjoyed it, and that helped me stick to it. So find something that makes you feel good.
Lastly, most importantly, quit smoking. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, but make a plan to quit. Set a date and give yourself some time to mentally prepare for your quit day. Start out by smoking one less cigarette a day, and work towards your quit day. You’ll be surprised how well you can do.
What are your resolutions for this year? Share your stories in the comments below!