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5 Ways to Make the Most of the New Year with MS

By Matt Cavallo
We are a couple of weeks into the New Year and many of us are transitioning from the glow of the holidays back to normal everyday life. What if we could capture the spirit of the holidays and keep it going throughout the entire year? Here are five steps for making the most of the New Year while living with MS.

1. Letting go of yesterday – In life we are often held back by the past. Whether it is our multiple sclerosis, previous failures, or relationships it is hard to move forward when we are still living with yesterday. It is hard to finally feel healthy when you are carrying the burden of the past. The past had passed and we cannot get it back. We may not want it back either. We may be living with relationships or commitments from yesterday that just don’t work with the person you are today. This creates stress which is not good for MS. Letting go of something from yesterday that doesn’t exist today isn’t easy to do (ask my wife about my T-shirt collection). However, if you are able to do this then you will be off to a fresh start in the new year and able to begin with less stress which is good for your MS.

2. Live in the Moment – Most of your goals are long-term. You should do something every day that helps you achieve those goals. However, one of the most important things you can do is to live for today. When you wake up in the morning ask yourself, “What would I like to accomplish today?” Maybe you want to create something new or maybe you want to visit someone or some place. What are you going to do today to ensure that this happens? If you are like me, maybe you need a little push. My kids often times are the ones that give me the push to get out there and do something even though I don’t always want too and I am always glad that I did. What is that one thing that will motivate you to live in the moment?

3. Declutter – Declutter distractions and regain focus because a cluttered mind can lead to procrastination. Whether your clutter is in your physical dwelling or online activities, clearing out the clutter will make you feel like a tremendous burden is lifted off your shoulders. I mentioned my T-shirt collection earlier. For example, my wife and I decided to go through our closets on New Year’s weekend and we came up with a couple of large trash bags worth of clothes donations for Goodwill. There were some tough decisions to make in parting with clothes that I hadn’t worn for years, but still had mental attachments too. However, now my closet is clean and I find less stress in dressing every day which means I start my day with less stress making each day just a bit easier.

4. Just Do It – Don’t be afraid to try new things even if it means leaving your comfort zone. Many of us get so caught up in our day-to-day routine that we often put off trying new things until tomorrow. Eventually we realize tomorrow is an extension of today when the window closes to try that new thing. You’ve heard the old axiom, “There ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.” I know that it is easier said than done, but once you get out there, you’ll be glad you did.

5. Evaluate Relationships – Surround yourself with people that support you and bring you happiness. Eliminate naysayers and people that cause stress. You’ll find that you pick up the traits and outlook of those closest to you. If you surround yourself with negative people, then you’ll find your outlook becomes more negative. Same effect with positive people, so replace the negative people with positive and you’ll find your outlook will change for the better. Spend more time with family and friends that bring you joy. If they don’t understand what you are going through with MS, that is okay too. Teach them how you want to be treated and use it as an opportunity to educate. They want to help, they just don’t know how. Stick with the people that support you even if they don’t know exactly what you’re going through.

Incorporate these five steps into your every day and you’ll have a fresh start every single day — not just on January 1. And that, my friends, is the best thing ever.