Cliche New Year's Goals With Some Reality

Cliche New Year's Goals With Some Reality

It's the thing you see every year, but hopefully this one is helpful!
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Hopefully this isn't your typical "New Year's Goals" article. I think the idea of setting a goal for the entire year, when the year hasn't even started, is so dumb. You can't have any idea what the coming year will entail, you can't even begin to predict what life will throw your way. Now I don't say that to scare you! It's just the truth, so how can you successfully stick to a goal you set in December all the way to the next December?

Setting a goal and then not sticking with it is a terrible feeling, but sometimes life gets away from us and we have to adjust accordingly so why not set a goal every month instead? Set your goal for January on January 1, set your goal for February on February 1, but make it a different goal than January and continue on every month. The idea of following through on a goal for 12 months straight is daunting and can be very discouraging, but following a goal for thirty days is much easier! Maybe make the one you know you will struggle with the most for February so it's only for 28 days instead of 31. Prove to yourself you can, in fact, follow through on the goals you set for yourself. Try a new goal for a month and then maybe go back to the first goal. Prove to yourself that you can do it before trying to make it for extended periods of time.

If you can only hold the goal for a week, consider setting easier goals or try setting goals for the week. Your life is changing and so are your needs for example if you set a goal to eat only three square meals a day, or to cut back on your food intake to a healthier level, but begin a hard workout regimen daily and are sleeping less because you're working more, then you may have to set aside the less food goal until your life settles down. Making sure you are healthy for what life is throwing at you is more important than temporary goals.

Good luck on the next year! I hope it's great and I hope that you achieve all you want to!

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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My War on Drugs: Part 1

After 7 years of prescribing Duragesic and Percocet, my doctor discharged me without notice....

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My toes dug into the well-padded forest green carpet that extended the length of the bathroom as I reached with shaking hands towards the towel rack to pull my purple bath sheet down to cover my nakedness.

My legs spasmed out. I pulled them tight into myself in a fetal position trying without success to control the jerking.

The next spasm nearly kneed me in my naked chest. My undergarments had been discarded at the base of the toilet when my stomach began to spasm uncontrollably.

I was one colossal spasm. I cried.

I prayed for it to stop.

Pain previously unimaginable seemed to take over my body. Struggling to contain my shivering, I closed my eyes and prayed once again that the pain in my lower abdomen would stop. Once the spasms slowed, I crawled the short distance from the master bathroom of the single-wide trailer into my bed where I continued to shiver and shake.

It was August 2009. I was experiencing the results of physical dependence on an opioid medication that had become unavailable to me after my physician discharged me without notice. I was experiencing what I had feared for more than seven years: I was in withdrawal.

Seven years before, in late autumn 2002, I visited my family doctor for continuing pelvic pain six months after my third bladder surgery. My urologist had discharged me with a mysterious malady by the name of "interstitial cystitis" as a diagnosis, but no one seemed to know exactly what it was.

My family doctor had been prescribing a large number of generic Vicodin every month in an attempt to control my continuing pelvic pain. They didn't help my IBS. My irritable bowel didn't make my bladder happy either. The sleep that the combination of opioids, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication brought was fitful and I was waking several times a night not only to use the bathroom (another symptom of interstitial cystitis) but also to take pain medication.

After months of very little sleep, I went to see my doctor. She suggested a pain medication I wouldn't have to consciously take continually. My family doctor assured me of minimal side-effects. I had no idea; then my body was beginning a seven-year dependence on the most powerful opioid prescribed. That medication was Duragesic, a brand name of fentanyl.

I wanted relief from pain, but even with the patch I changed every three days it was necessary to take Vicodin as a "breakthrough pain" medication. Breakthrough pain means that extreme discomfort that is felt even when using a medication for a chronic or somewhat 'stable' level of pain. When Vicodin damaged my inner ears, I was changed to Percocet.

With each increase in dosage, I became more frustrated and more irritable. My mood changes necessitated the addition of antidepressants. Then anti-anxiety medications and additional antidepressants were prescribed to assist with sleep. In 2008, when my daughter graduated from high school, I was taking 19 different prescribed pills and one patch every day. Most of the pills were for the side-effects of the patches or other pills.

Most of my life I had wanted to be a doctor. When I was a child, I wanted to be a James Herriott. When I became a mom at 17, then again at 19, I settled on the one medical job I could train for without a waiting list at my local community college: Medical Assistant. Medical research became a hobby when chronic illnesses hit my oldest son and husband. I respected the medical field; I was comfortable there. I had worked in both of the local hospitals and for a local doctor before life circumstances necessitated me retraining in the computer programming field.

I worked for the State of Washington as a programmer for seven years before the pain in my lower abdomen became the focus of my existence. My life had been reduced to living in my bed and in the bathroom. I stared at a television playing reruns of shows I used to enjoy, now checked out by the season from the library. A sad nostalgia I shared with the shows. I prayed daily for it to end. Then a friend asked me if I had ever tried 'pot' for my pain.

I responded I didn't believe in medical marijuana. "They're just using it as an excuse to get high. Not that I don't think cancer patients should get high as much as they want." I joked, not having a clue how misinformed I was.

My friend frankly pointed out I had already lost what I had previously thought of as a life. I had become disabled from the brain changes the fentanyl caused. I was angry all the time. I yelled at my teenagers and husband in my frustration as my teenage son took over dinner preparation. I lived in bed. I had no more life left.

(Continued with part 2 next week)

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