What are Your Hopes and Dreams in 2018?
The start of a new year means a fresh start for wellness! Starting small can help you with tackling your goals for 2018 and beyond.
By Susie Johnson
A New Year is here with its promise of possibilities! I am a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions. Yes, I am also aware that not many people follow through with them. What if people actually did?
I believe if you set goals for yourself, you are going to grow personally. I am extremely lucky to be in somewhat of a 16-year remission with the help of my doctor and my medicine cocktail. Still, I do a lot to stay healthy (early bedtime, exercise, eating properly, and taking meds). The older and more stable I become, the more confidence I have to reach for bigger goals.
In 2017, I shot for the stars. My goals were:
1. Take a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class with my husband. (Dave Ramsey is a financial guru) so we could communicate more effectively regarding our finances and learn budgeting.
2. Start a spiritual support group in my community. Las Vegas does not have one.
3. Write another book on bipolar disorder. (Book one “Some Dreams Are Worth Keeping, A Memoir of My Bipolar Journey” came out in 2015.)
How did I do?
The 9-week Dave Ramsey class was truly life changing. My husband and I learned how to get out of debt and how to budget monthly. We learned about retirement planning and IRAs, mortgages, and the differences between needs and wants. For the first time in our 10-year marriage, we were on the same page. This class brought us together and strengthened our marriage. I recommend it whether you are single or married.
What has anchored my life is my strong faith. I knew there was a God who loved me, who would never abandon me. He has always held me tightly in the palm of his hand no matter how euphoric my highs or hellish my lows.
For the past 25 years I have longed for a support group for mental illness that also offered spiritual support. I researched support groups occurring in churches located in Boulder, Colorado which uses INMI (Interfaith Network on Mental Illness). This group has had great success and I was envious that we did not have such a group here in Las Vegas.
I’m Catholic. I discovered there is a lot of red tape when starting a group like this at a Catholic church. For the past 3 years, one door after another closed. My road blocks included liability issues, lack of a crisis-trained psychologist to lead the group, and no place to hold meetings.
Recently, my husband and I moved to a large parish with many community outreach programs. I pitched my idea of a mental health group to a priest. He liked the idea. I prayed long and hard that something would come out of the meeting. The priest found a retired psychologist interested in helping lead the group. I don’t want to count my chicks before they’re hatched, but things are looking promising since we all are meeting next week regarding the support group. My dream is that this group helps not just me and others here, but that it will have a ripple effect and touch others in churches across the United States and even the world. I believe with God all is possible.
As for the second book about bipolar, it is coming along. I do have an exhausting day job. As an Instructional Assistant at an elementary school, I teach children with learning disabilities all day long. My time for writing is limited, but I look forward to this summer when I’ll have time to continue my writing.
My New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 are similar to 2017.
1. Hit the ground running with the support group
2. Keep speaking about my true passion in life (I am a Toastmaster and constantly looking for places to speak both in my community and abroad), breaking the stigma associated with bipolar disease and bringing hope to those who live with it.
3. Continue writing blogs like this one to use in a new book.
These are my goals along with trying to keep my head above water.
I have not always been so healthy and stable. I assure you, I have struggled like many of you reading this. It has taken me a lifetime to get here. We all are on different parts of our bipolar journeys.
Are you struggling right now? Make small goals! Start somewhere!
1. Don’t hit your snooze button every morning (guilty).
2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Get out of your pjs and change into clothes.
4. If you are a woman, putting on makeup, or shaving your legs if you don’t usually wear makeup, are ways you can jumpstart your self-care
5. Consider “uplugging” for a few days. Don’t fast from food; fast from Facebook and other social media.
6. Smile at someone in a store or at work.
7. If you have the means, pay it forward.
8. Take a break from what I call Negative Nelly. You know what I mean. Ignore the negative internal voices associated with bp.
9. Pick up a piece of fruit instead a piece of candy.
10. If you can afford it, join a gym and mark on your calendar when you will go. Otherwise figure out how to get in a good work out. Find a buddy who will keep you accountable.
11. To lose weight, check out Weight Watchers. I’m a big believer in them.
Just pick a goal, big or small! Trying to make changes in this New Year will improve our mental health and that’s worth more than the value of diamonds or gold.
What are you waiting for? Like one of my favorite quotes from Nike, “Just Do It.”