How Parkinson’s Disease Influences Our New Year’s Resolutions

A columnist shares the simple goals she and her father focus on

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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When the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, many of us brace for the new year. We want to start fresh, perhaps cultivating better eating and exercise habits. But according to Discover Happy Habits, 36% of people give up on their resolutions after just one month, returning to the previous year’s patterns.

The reasons for this phenomenon seem to vary. Many of us bite off more than we can chew, and we quickly realize that we can’t sustain our new habit. Others don’t define their goals well enough to have a clear idea of what they’re working toward, so they give up when they realize they don’t know whether their efforts are working. And others simply pick too many resolutions.

In the hopes of not becoming a statistic, my dad, who has Parkinson’s disease, and I like to choose smaller goals that are easier to stick to on a day-to-day basis.

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Let’s Make 2023 the Year of ‘Me’

Let go

One resolution that helps my dad manage his Parkinson’s symptoms is to mitigate stress. Looking for ways to simplify his life allows him to focus on what matters most without feeling overwhelmed.

This idea is often used as a mantra in meditation or yoga classes, and it’s one that I’ve come to adopt as well. Instead of constantly adding more tasks to my plate, letting go of things that don’t serve me makes space for the things that matter most.

Be present

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in my life, which causes me to put important relationships on the back burner. Going home over the holidays reminded me to be present, put my gadgets away, and savor the time I have with the people I love, because they won’t always be here.

While Parkinson’s is a cunning adversary, it also brings our priorities to light. I want to spend more time with my dad while I have him. This year, I intend to do just that by being present — in every sense of the word — as often as I can.

Express gratitude

During my recent trip home, my mom wore a beautiful smile when she told me how much gratitude my dad expresses. As Dad loses his abilities, my mom steps up to care for him more and more. But she doesn’t mind, because he’s such a grateful receiver.

This reminded me that it’s not enough to just feel gratitude. It needs to be expressed as well. Focusing on this key point makes it easier to pay attention to my blessings instead of ruminating on the losses.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


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