I start every year by promising to make meaningful changes in my life. I hope to lose weight, exercise more, live a healthier life, and be a better parent to my children during their bleeding episodes. These New Year’s resolutions sound great, and when I am in my “safety bubble” on Jan. 1, they appear easy to uphold. I make these beautiful declarations of change before the pressures of the outside world tempt me to forget the good promises and return to my life of poor decisions.
What concerns me is leaving my safety net on Jan. 2 and venturing off into the places that tempt me to leave my resolutions behind. Once I slip and return to my old ways, a snowball effect occurs until the lofty goals that I set for myself are a distant memory. My new ideas get swept under the rug by Jan. 3, perhaps for another year. Failure creeps in, and not only have I forgotten some wonderful ideas, but now I beat myself up for not maintaining my new strategies for healthy living.
In the end, my boys suffer, as the way I hoped to approach dealing with hemophilia gets left on the cutting room floor of an awful movie. Frustrated, I fail to be the dad I know lies deep inside my soul. My resolutions start as incredible goals, only to give way to something dark and excruciating. Not only have I given up on what I hoped to accomplish, I feel like I let my family down.
A transformative new year
With the coming of another year, I hope to break the cycle of New Year’s resolution failures and establish a new idea for personal change. I hope to go beyond the mundane experiences of making promises that get broken, and instead look beyond myself to something transformative and well-meaning. In 2022, I plan to commit to my family and offer a contract that I cannot break, even if I fail to maintain perfection.
My goal is to offer my family an unbreakable pledge to be the best father and husband that I can be. I accept this new concept, not as a set of rules to live by, but as a new way of being in the world. Unlike resolutions of the past, my new transformation leaves room for errors. I will apologize as needed, but never give up just because I broke a rule or two (or three). Instead, I will admit my imperfection, apologize when needed, and continue along my way.
As part of maintaining this transformation, I will offer myself grace when I make a mistake and become frustrated. This new way of looking at the world helps me deal with the pressures of raising my boys during the worst internal bleeding episodes and other hemophilia-related problems. When my youngest boy’s chronic pain stemming from joint damage affects his mobility, I hope to remember to breathe and not lose my temper.
A simple resolution would deem me a failure after the first mistake, but a commitment to a new way of living keeps in consideration those moments when I lose my way. Transformation allows me to be human, a flawed creature. At the same time, writing down promises for the new year often manifests as empty dreams and unrealized expectations. For change to occur, grace must make itself known. Perfection, while appearing a lofty goal, is unrealistic. A new way of living allows us to continue, even when we falter.
This year, I hope a transformative way of looking at the world helps me to see my own best self. Gone are my days of making meaningless, often broken, New Year’s resolutions. But my commitment may remain evident from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. I hope that 2022 brings a more prosperous way of living in the world for all of us. It is my heartfelt wish that all of us may discover a very transformative new year.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.
About the Author
Joe MacDonald Joe is the father of two sons with hemophilia. He and his wife, Cazandra, are active members in the bleeding disorders community and often facilitate workshops both locally and nationally. Joe is a pastor in the United Methodist Church and writes a blog about spirituality and faith. You may follow his blog at www.joekmac.com.