The number 2020 is shown to represent the new year. The last two numbers make a face with eyeballs in the two and zero.

Happy, Healthy New Year! It's 2020!

It’s hard to believe this year is already at its end. There’s an old saying about the days being long, but the years being short. The older I get, the more my children grow, and the more I learn how to be my true self and evolve into who I am meant to be...the truer this adage becomes.

Time for a resolution?

‘Tis the season for us all to make a resolution. You know, ‘promise’ ourselves to do something better or quit doing things that aren’t good for us. Go to the gym! Eat more salad! Lose weight! Give up this or that! Sleep more! Save money!

Do New Year's resolutions work?

How much has this one ‘promise’ to ourselves ever actually worked in the past?

Whyyyyyy do we do this to ourselves? Why do we tell ourselves we aren’t good enough or we need to stop being a certain way? I mean, yes, eating healthy, exercising, and giving up bad habits is a great resolution and a brand new year is a great time to ‘start.’ Especially if you’re battling something with your health like macular degeneration. But, there’s a reason why many of us fail to follow through on our resolutions.

Love yourself first

Changing a habit or enduring a lifestyle adjustment doesn’t happen without our hearts and minds being in the right place. So, I have a challenge for you. How about loving yourself just the way you are and see where that takes you?

The importance of self-love

You see, when you love yourself, you start to see your body and mind as you do a friend or loved special. And when your body and mind are allies and not enemies, you can start to automatically make healthier choices for yourself. Exercising, for example, can start to feel enjoyable because it’s an act of kindness to yourself (and your eyes), and not just something you ‘have to do.’ Your weight or your health goals just may ‘magically’ turn into accomplished goals, your flaws become beautiful...because they, too, are loved. Ta-Da!

Learning from mistakes

When you love yourself, it becomes okay to sleep-in some mornings but exercise others. You begin to give yourself permission to stop beating yourself up for making decisions that are right in the current moment. When you love yourself, it becomes okay to make mistakes...after all, that’s how we learn best, isn't it? My youngest son learned a lot of mindfulness in second grade and he once told me, ‘There are no mistakes, Mommy, just lessons.’ And he’s right.

Treating yourself as well as others

I would never tell my friends and loved ones that they aren’t enough, or they can be a better mother or friend or teacher or wife. I would never even think those things about them. I would never tell anyone battling a disease that they weren’t doing enough to prevent it. Or that they should do this or that instead. Why, then, would it be okay for me to say those things to myself? I wouldn’t ask my friends to hide being anxious or sad or worried. Life can truly feel so hard sometimes.

For all of us.

Anxiety and vision loss

Anxiety is our body’s way of telling us to change EVOLVE into something new. Isn’t it time we start listening to what our bodies are telling us instead of hiding feelings and ending up with the same old patterns while seeking different results? I’d venture to say that being anxious while dealing with vision loss (or the threat of it) go hand in hand. Could it help to be kind to ourselves and love ourselves through it instead of feeling bad about it?

Change is inevitable

In 2019, my life changed so much. A lot of that change was hard and lessons were learned. If I’m being honest, I fought hard through that change and not always in my ‘best self’ way. But, when I look back at the progress I’ve made toward being healthy, happy and true to myself, most of that change was amazing. The world really does seem to have its own way of working things out for itself.

Macular degeneration has motivated me

2019 was the year that I really started to accept macular degeneration as something that can help me be and do better. Do I ‘love’ my macular degeneration? I wouldn’t say that. But, I do love the way that it has projected me forward into becoming my best self and living my best life. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be as evolved without my macular degeneration if I’m being honest.

I am so ready to see who I will evolve into during this next brand new year. As I end this final article of 2019, I will leave you with a quote written by one of my favorite inspirational motivators on Instagram:

“Stop worrying about other people understanding you. Get in touch with yourself instead. Focus on what makes you happy, what makes your soul feel at peace. You are your biggest commitment, so start loving your flaws, your awkwardness, your weirdness, your intensity, your vulnerability, your everything. Life becomes so much more fulfilling when you are simply yourself. The world keeps spinning whether people understand you or not so why not make the next trip around the sun about you.”
-Mark Groves

Be your biggest commitment

Let me challenge you with this, friends...instead of making a New Year’s resolution that you may or may not keep, consider simply making a list of all the things that you will try to do next year to love yourself and live your best life. Commit to yourself and your own well being and I promise you, your life will change for the better.

There’s no coincidence that the new year is 2020. This is my year. This is your year. This is OUR year to clearly SEE what’s important! Here’s my list, I figure the longer it is, the more chances I have at being successful:

  • Be present in every moment, don’t miss beautiful things because of anxiety or worrying about what comes next
  • Go to concerts, that’s your happy place
  • Be adventurous, learn something new
  • Continue therapy, that’s where you grow and learn to ground yourself
  • Set boundaries if something doesn’t serve you, you are allowed to say no
  • Travel, see as much as you can and take it all in
  • Catch as many sunrises and sunsets as you can, this is how you remember to start fresh every day and end the day with something beautifully inspiring for the next
  • Work hard, this is what you do best, teach and help others
  • Make your kids laugh as much as you can, this is a sound made from heaven and you will miss it when they grow all the way up on you
  • Tell yourself something you love about yourself every day. yourself first, even when it’s hard
  • Take deep breaths, all bad feelings, bad moments, and bad times pass...breathe through them
  • Be brave, life isn’t fair sometimes
  • Be strong, no need to resolve to run 1,000 miles this year, just be healthy
  • Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes, you’re just learning lessons

I’d love to know what’s on your list, please share some items below!

One more thought before I go...

I joined Health Union and this year to help others who were struggling like me. I want to help as many people as I can to learn about this devastating disease, how to combat it, and how to cope with the emotions that go hand in hand with it.

The strength in our community

Really, what has happened is I’ve learned so much from each and every one of you. On this magical Facebook page of ours, I have watched us pour our hearts out in worry and in encouragement. I’ve seen us listen to each other, mourn with each other, believe in each other, lift each other up, and give strength to each other when we may not even feel very strong ourselves. Never have I been a part of a better group of people who are persevering through some really tough stuff.

Thank you to anyone who has taken time out of their day to read, share, comment, or like what I have to say. If you’ve reached out to me in any way, I see you and I appreciate you. It means more to me than you’ll ever know. This community has become the lemonade I’ve made out of my life’s biggest lemon.

Happy, healthy New Year to you all!

Make the next trip around the sun about you,

Andrea Junge

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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