I’m not a great fan of New Year’s Resolutions in general. Like all of you, I’ve made them and broken them more years than not. But that being said, I do think the new year is a time we should pause and take account of where we’ve been and where we want our journey to lead us. Or, put a different way, we can use the transition to a new year to think about who we are and who we want to become.
So instead of the usual resolutions to lose weight, drink more water, exercise, etc – here are three “resolutions” for medical students, residents and physicians that may be easier to keep this year. (If you aren’t in medicine, I think they still apply.)
Deliberately reset your intention to be kind with every encounter you have with patients or colleagues. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, too.
Keep up with every day tasks so they don’t weigh you down.
Clean out your medical records, record your cases, prepare food for the next day… whatever it is that will free up time and emotional energy. Make a list of these tasks with check boxes and keep it on your phone so you can see it often. Clear the list every night to start over for the next day. Celebrate what you accomplished during the day and have self-compassion for the things you weren’t able to do.
Take care of yourself – physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Be deliberate in the choices you make to take care of yourself. Don’t get overwhelmed by the pressure of wanting to do it all. Know that some days will make it hard to exercise, eat right, be still, etc. That’s ok, but don’t give up. Make sure you do something for your own wellbeing every day.
The gift you give to others through your career is special – remind yourself often of the amazing work you do. Take measures to sustain your career so you can continue give to others and have joy doing it.
I wish for you all a New Year filled with kindness, peace, and joy!