Resolve to Live Vibrantly in 2012

by Amy Saffell

2011 has come to a close, and we’re ushering in a new year.  For many, the end of holiday celebrations signals a time for reflection. Most of us realize we still have room to grow into who we want to be, and that means it’s time to make some new year’s resolutions. We make resolutions because we realize that, no matter how great the previous year has been, the new year can be even better. If you’re on the fence about new year’s resolutions, let’s look at how you might make (and keep!) one!

What do You Resolve to Do…?

If we’re really honest with ourselves, we all have some area in our life that we know isn’t what it could be, yet we’d like to reach our potential. The new year is typically a good time to address these issues. A few general themes seem to be present in many people’s resolutions, and those items usually involves things we’ve delayed throughout the year.

Of course, there are the ever-popular health related resolutions. The holidays generally mean eating a lot of unhealthy food, so weight loss through proper food consumption and exercise are great resolutions. If you’ve never visited your local YMCA or recreation center, give it a shot. I’ve found both places to be really helpful in my own exercise routine. As much as we may hate to admit it, having a disability comes with its own set of health concerns, so maybe 2012 is the year that you finally get some of those issues under control. 

Another popular topic of new year’s resolutions relates to finances. Getting rid of debt and having savings are important steps to financial freedom. There are lots of online resources to help you manage your finances, as well as those friends and family members who can offer their advice.    

With the popularity of health and money-related resolutions, many people don’t realize that new year’s resolutions don’t have to fit into either of those categories. Resolutions that lead to an improved life, no matter what form that takes, are the best kind. We all deserve to have a happy, meaningful life. Think of a way in which your life might be lacking the richness that you imagine it could have, and make a resolution to improve in that area.

As women with disabilities, we have a unique opportunity to teach others in our community that having a disability doesn’t need to hold us back from leading a full life. If others haven’t been seeing that from your own life, 2012 might be a great time to make some changes towards getting involved in your community. I love to volunteer my time around town, but even making regular trips to the grocery store is a way that I can represent the capabilities of people with disabilities.

Some additional life-improvement resolutions that you might want to consider are:  having a more positive attitude and outlook, picking up a new hobby, stopping procrastination, becoming more independent, keeping in better contact with old friends and family, or joining a group in the community.

…And How do You Resolve to do It?

Once you think of a resolution, it’s time to spring into action. Some people are scared off from making resolutions because they fear that they’ll never stick to them. Resolutions take work, and big changes don’t happen overnight. Be realistic about your goals. It’s important to take one day at a time and to start small.  No matter how small, do one thing every day (or week) that supports your resolution. If your resolution is to be healthier and you’re starting from scratch, cut out one unhealthy food from your diet every week or take one trip to the gym a week at first, and then add on more as you progress. If your resolution is to have a more positive attitude, start by thinking about what you say to yourself, and change a negative thought when you can. 

Perhaps one of the most important components to helping you stick to your resolution is to tell someone else about it. You may think it’s embarrassing, but speaking from experience, people love sharing in someone else’s triumph. Maybe someone will join you on your journey so that you can support one another, but even if they don’t have the same resolution, simply telling someone about your goal gives you the accountability and encouragement that you need. I work out at the YMCA or recreation center a few times a week and typically see the same people. If I skip going a few times, people will ask me where I’ve been. Even though they may just be acquaintances, I don’t want to have to tell them that I’ve been lazy, so they help me stay with my routine. If you know that someone will be asking you how your resolution is going, you won’t want to disappoint that person by admitting you’ve done nothing. Post your resolution in the forum, and we can be a support system for one another!

Although people make new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year because it’s a tradition, it’s never too late to make a change in your life. If you think of a resolution in February, May or August, don’t wait until next January to make that improvement in your life. If you start something and fall off the bandwagon, tomorrow is a new day to start again. The strongest resolutions lead to ongoing lifestyle changes.    

New year’s resolutions take work, and they’re a journey. They’re meant to be enriching to your life, but not always easy. Know that the effort that you put into the resolution will be worth it. You may end up helping not only yourself, but also countless others in the process as you share your progress. Take that leap of faith and be on your way to a healthy, happy and productive 2012!  

To post your new year's resolution with, visit, click on "Forum," and then add your post to the "New Year's Resolutions" thread under the "Miscellaneous" category!

Amy lives in Nashville, TN and works in the music industry. She enjoys spending time with friends, concerts, and volunteering for a local youth wheelchair sports and independence group.   

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