Being S.M.A.R.T with your Goals: By Maria De Leon

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“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, is a new life for me”, are the words that I want everyone to shout out with me this today! Although, half of the first month of the new year has already swooshed by, there is still time to think about our goals for the year and how we will manage while trying to battle an all encompassing disease. A decade ago, I was feeling unhappy and trapped although seemingly I had it all. Unfortunately, it took a devastating illness to make me realize what was important in my life. Even though the road has been bumpy and full of perils at times it has also been extremely rewarding giving me a new lease on life. This year as I begin not just a new year but also a new decade in my life I hope to continue reaching new goals and soaring to new heights along with all of you.

But in order for us to continue climbing and growing as people and showing our illnesses that we will not be hostage or defeated by Parkinson’s, or any other chronic illness we must start by being S.M.A.R.T. in other words in order to keep moving forward we must set goals that are:

Specific: Make time for what really matters to YOU, your family, & God! Rest, eat well and take medicines on time.

Moderate: Don’t over extend yourself. Remember that we unlike others have even less energy and less mental stamina at times so we should choose our projects carefully. Start small on a goal or project and build your success by mastering that one thing at a time. We can’t just get up one day and expect to write a novel if never written before (believe me I tried- it took a lot of work). There is a learning curve to everything worth doing even for us to overcome our physical and mental impediments.

Achievable: Focus on reaching plausible goals- stop falling, stop choking, exercise once a week etc. Always act and think in terms of what you CAN do and achieve rather than on what you CANNOT do. Example, this week I will try not to miss my noon dosages. Instead, I will set an alarm to remind me to take my medications as scheduled.

Recordable:  Remember that you cannot manage what you can’t objectively record. Go ahead keep a diary of your progress (or lack of). this will make you accountable. This will help you and your doctor know what you must work on together.

Time-Specific: Review your goals monthly, weekly if struggling. This way you can trouble shoot and change direction with greater ease if having trouble. This requires introspection and being honest with oneself. Healing begins from inside out after all.

If you are S.M.A.R.T in all areas of your life not just those related to your illness you can achieve anything and really be able to shout …”I am feeling good today!” Just as I have learned. So stop procrastinating, feeling sorry for yourself and take back control of your life and start living to the fullest. It won’t be easy but it will be very rewarding I promise.

Sources:

Lyrics by Michael Buble _ “I am feeling good”; ‘The word for you today” by Bob Gass

@copyright2019

All Rights reserved by Maria De Leon MD

 

 

Developing a New Vision for the New Year!By Maria De Leon

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“Where there is no vision people will perish.” Proverbs 29:18

This year as I renew my strength and hope in God, I ponder on all the good and bad things that happened last year. Despite the losses and tribulations. I am grateful for all the lessons learned, new friends and adventures had along the way.
After a few months of down time following a string of doctors’ visits, myriad of new tests along with new lupus (SLE) diagnosis to compliment my Parkinson’s (which was beginning to feel lonely), it is time to start a new chapter in my life. As all the pages of the New Year remain blank, I think about developing a new vision that will provide me with endless stories, adventures, trials and triumphs that will comprise a new chapter. This process will be one more stepping stone in achieving a new dream. As I sit quietly contemplating of what my direction should be next waiting on God to lead the way I think about the importance of having a dream for all us especially for those of us who live with chronic illnesses in our lives.
The life lessons involved in making a dream or goal come true are the same lessons we must learn as patients.
When we develop a vision the same tests required to bring that dream into fruition are the same steps required to overcome living with a chronic illness. If you can find a dream and make it come true you can essentially do anything!
But first one must have a dream in order to make it come true.
Once my dream was to become a neurologist. Having achieved that dream has giving me the strength to keep fighting in the midst of many physical and emotional new obstacles. I discovered that a vision is what gives us direction, creativity and resilience.
Without it we run the risk of becoming passive, aimless, and vulnerable to giving up.
Thus, it is important for all of us to have a vision. Is not always clear what our goal should be what our next step should be or what direction to take. It took me a couple of years after my Parkinson’s diagnosis to find a clear new purpose in my life- keep advocating for my patients and all PD around the globe.
Before I could do this like now, I must first wait to have a new goal (vision). This requires patience, discipline and above all the ability to overcome challenges (for us this means often times overcoming physical and emotional limitations).
Is not easy to go after a vision.
I am sure there is something you worked hard to get. Remember the thrill of achievement and accomplishment? I believe you can do it again if you just set your mind to it.
Now as we stand on the horizon of a new unexplored chore, we need to be mindful of passing the following 4 tests that will help us overcome any obstacles this illness or any other curve life could throw our way.
1. Faith Test …we must be strong and believe in a better tomorrow even when everyone around us says there is no way you can make it. I am testament of being relentlessness …even when all the doctors prognosis have been grim I am still standing here by grace of God and still BELIEVE in a cure.
2. Patience Test …I have learned that in life like in science nothing happens overnight. We must learn to wait on God’s time not our own. Yet, having said this many great strides in neurology have been made in the right direction to making peoples life’s better.
3. Strength Test…Sometimes we may find ourselves discouraged alone frightened devoid of family and friends with no support group. We have all felt this way at one point or another. This is the time to remain strong in your convictions. Think about how much you have overcome and how far you have traveled. You can certainly do it again if you don’t give room to negative thought. My motto and yours should be-This too shall pass. I have been through many difficult times which I did not think I could or would survive. Surely, I cried but I did not die. Once the tears stopped the sun came out again and I learned to be happy once more. I have learned that even when one dream died there are many more inside of me and that my life has so many facets, it is much more than any one dream or any one illness I might have.
4. Focus Test…We can easily be derailed and deterred if we focus inward on us instead of outwards towards helping others. If we concentrate on helping others and keep moving forward even at a crawls pace we can climb a mountain. It all begins with a single positive thought- “I can & I will”

So today, I am encouraging everyone to follow these steps. In the meantime keep your spirit up and your gifts and talents sharpened so when the times comes to reach your vision you will not be defined by any illness.

Happy New Year to all my friends, families and followers!

@copyright2019
All rights reserved By Maria L. De Leon