New Year’s resolutions are difficult – unless you make it your New Year’s resolution to have a New Year’s resolution (then you’ve beaten the system). The part that’s challenging for most people is keeping them a whole year; we don’t make realistic goals, we set impossible hurdles. We can attribute part of this to our culture, since we like immediate gratification – especially with rapid fast technology nowadays (oi!). At the end of the day however, our resolutions are unrealistic.

Perhaps no one is a bigger culprit of unrealistic resolutions than family caregivers. These self-sacrificing people try to be better when they’re already trying their best. For family caregivers, not upholding a New Year’s resolutions is a much bigger issue as it will only drill frustrations deeper and whittle away at their confidence.

This is why, we’ve prepared a list of the 3 most common New Year’s resolutions of family caregivers with our own, realistic alternatives.

1. I’m Going to be More Patient

Madness! Sheer lunacy!

More patient? Chances are, your patience is maxed out as is. Likely, the only way you could grow more patience – and significantly so – would be to meditate daily, and that requires time, time you don’t – and won’t – have.

Plus, caregivers should know (but many do not) that their senior’s condition will only get worse. Especially with seniors who suffer dementia, they will only require more care and more skilled care. Making a resolution for more patience will not help.

What the resolution should be is…

I’m Going to Endure More

Because you are. You are going to continually endure more than the previous day, but you’re giving yourself the strength to make it through.

2. I’m Going to be More Generous

Why? How?

You’re caring for someone else’s wellbeing; their life. What makes you think you’re not already one of the most generous human beings? Short of donating your organs, you’re giving it your all. You want to throw some community service onto that? Forget it! Your time is already dedicated to another person and that is plenty noble enough.

What the resolution should be is…

 I’m Going to be More Selfish

(Or, if you’d prefer, “I’m Going to Make More Time for Me” – because you need to.) Too often – just read the statistics – family caregivers put others’ health before their own. This leads to their downfall.

As their elders require more care, they care less for their own bodies. Exercise is one of the first things to go from the routine and diet is next – cars littered with fast food bags.

Take some time for yourself. It’s not selfish in a negative way, rather, you need to be at your best if you hope to care for someone else.

3. I’m Going to Start Each Day with my Best Foot Forward

Starting the day optimistically is easy, ending the day with that mentality requires real work.

Caregiver depression is very real and setting unrealistic resolutions can magnify the symptoms. Rather than start each day happy (and end disappointed), the resolution should be…

I’m Going to End Each Day Knowing I did my Best

No caregiver takes enough credit for their service. Rather than go to sleep feeling negative and drained, change your mindset to feelings of relief. Remember you’ve endured more and cared more than you have before. You’ve devoted your time to someone else’s life. That’s something and you need to remind yourself.