Setting New Year’s Goals When You Have Friedreich’s Ataxia

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by Frankie Perazzola |

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January is the perfect time for new goals, new hobbies and a fresh start.

The whole “new year, new me” phenomenon is in full effect with motivation at an all-time high. It always seems like people are more focused than ever at this time of year!  But why does that energy last for about a month and then all of a sudden, it takes a hiatus for the next 11? Gyms empty and fitness goals start to lose their importance. Often, New Year’s resolutions become too big and the lack of instant gratification causes disappointment.

Let’s face it: no matter who you are, it’s impossible to become one of those Instagram fitness models overnight…or ever. Most people don’t understand how much time, effort, money and dedication it takes to run a successful fitness account, not to mention the money and constant outreach looking for sponsorships. Friedreich’s ataxia makes it hard enough to get to the gym in the first place so that comparison is absolutely preposterous anyway.

MORE: How to handle feeling like a burden when you have FA

When you have a chronic illness like FA, it’s important to be a little kinder to yourself when setting your New Year’s resolutions.

Instead of losing weight, try to eat a little healthier. 
Make a goal of living healthier instead of giving yourself a number of pounds to lose. Remember the 80/20 rule — eat healthily and consciously 80 percent of the time, but make sure you indulge 20 percent of the time.

If you want a bag of Cheetos or animal fries from In-n-Out, go for it! As long as you have been eating what you need to during the week and doing whatever physical activity you can, by all means, treat yourself. Sometimes there will be a few weeks where the percentage is 65/35 and that’s OK, too! The only guarantee here is that sometimes you’ll mess up. You will miss workouts and you will overindulge so keep that in mind when you’re feeling discouraged.

Give yourself lots of time to achieve your goals. 
Set yourself up for success, not failure. Make sure you’re setting achievable goals and give yourself enough time to get there. It’s tough to make long-term goals when you have a progressive, life-shortening illness and it feels like time is going a lot faster than it is for the people around you.

Sometimes, throwing in the towel and giving up may seem a lot easier, and it probably is, but this is a process worth sticking with; Your body will feel the difference. It will get easier to stick to a routine if you keep at it and persevere. Making daily strides towards living a healthier lifestyle will eventually lead to you becoming the best version of yourself on your own time.

MORE: Why patience is so important when you have FA

Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.