Agency on Aging

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions often become a source of something to feel guilty about. Research shows that most people fail to keep their resolutions beyond 2 weeks after New Year’s Day, and the result are feelings of guilt for failing to follow through on a promise. The last thing a family caregiver needs is something else to feel guilty about.  Despite this fact, resolutions at the start of a fresh new year can be a useful method to make changes that will result in better quality of life for a caregiver.  The important element to add to resolutions is a plan to increase the probability of success.

Caregivers tell us that they feel overwhelmed, tired, distracted, guilty, rushed.  They find themselves eating things that are bad for them, missing medical appointments, not making time for exercise or relaxation.  We know that this is a prescription for caregiver burnout. So, it is essential to make a promise to yourself to make changes, but change is hard for many of us and the time needed for change is difficult for all caregivers. 

If you make plans to improve your practices so that you don’t become a victim of caregiver burnout, it is a good idea to add the elements below to your list of New Year’s resolutions:

  • Remind yourself continually that you are doing the best you can in all things.      
  • Each day recall something about your life for which you are thankful.
  • Find an exercise buddy, you won’t let them down even when you want to skip exercise.
  • Each week, call someone who cares about you and just check in.
  • Get organized.  You don’t have time to waste. The time spent organizing all the medical bills, appointments and phone numbers related to your loved one’s care will result in creating extra time for you.
  • Have a plan for recognizing when your energy levels are too low. Don’t wait until you collapse.  We’re all different, some of us feel extra tired, some get cranky, some overeat, some feel sad.  Learn to recognize your sign and take preventive action.
  • Set small goals that are easily attainable and build on that. Don’t try to climb a mountain before you’re ready. Success with small goals increases the likelihood that you’ll continue moving toward bigger goals. Failure at big goals usually results in quitting
  • Ask for help getting respite for yourself.