Resolve to Make A New Year’s TBI Revolution!

Resolve to Make A New Year’s TBI Revolution!


By Bill Herrin


As we’re now in 2019, many of us reflect on 2018 with good and bad memories – with grateful hearts, we recall the good times – and with heavy hearts, we recall the difficult times. Life (in general) can be a rollercoaster ride of events and emotions, but especially when you’re a survivor of TBI, stroke, concussion, ABI, PTSD, etc.

New Year…New approach!

In many instances, discussing “New Year’s Resolutions” may feel like an exercise in futility. I’ll be the first to point out that I have gotten a lot of strong, and positive feedback on previous blog articles, and I’ve gotten some that were heart-wrenching. The things that people endure, and how they see the world after TBI can be so different – because, like our own fingerprints, every brain injury is different. Period. End of story.

One of the first things I try to say “right up front” when discussing any sort of brain injury, is that for every person you may encourage or inform, there will be others that don’t see things the same way. With that said, I’m not quitting! Feel free to share your feelings, no matter what they are, but know that my intentions are to enlighten, inform and inspire. Maybe not all three in every blog post, but with TBI and related subjects, you really do have to take the good with the bad.


New Year – new possibilities!


You have to play to win!

Lets’ get back to the topic of New Year’s Resolutions – I’ve thought about it, and many times, resolutions are made to be broken…or at least, it feels that way. Why not plan to fight for the things that we truly want to try to change with all our might? Even if it’s something small? Making small strides may not even be on your agenda, but maybe if you are a caregiver – you can put it on your agenda to help your loved one make small strides. If they achieve one, or more than one, you can use that to encourage a TBI survivor on to further goals throughout the new year!

The point here is to resist making half-hearted New Year’s resolutions, and plan for a New Year’s Revolution! A revolution can be big or small, but they both revolve around making changes with intent and purpose…to work toward change. Revolutionary thinking has a tactical approach, a fierce agenda…and a targeted result in mind. In other words, it can end up being half-hearted goal-setting.


How do you go about this? Here are some ideas that may help you work toward your goals.


1) If you feel that setting goals are a wasted effort, then setting a small goal may be the perfect solution for you! Baby steps are how progress often starts! If you have a friend or relative that can help you toward your goal, that’s even better. Accountability and encouragement can make a huge difference.


Setting goals is planning.

2) Be realistic when setting a goal – as an example, maybe you have trouble with your balance – don’t expect to overcome that quickly, and there may be other ways to overcome it that are outside of just having the desire to do it, such as therapy, certain medications, etc.; Keeping up with your doctor, and working with clinical professionals would be the best route for something like that.


3) Journaling. Write daily (or as often as you can) for 2 reasons…one is for a point of reference for where you are starting from…and the other is to show yourself (and even others) how far you’ve progressed. Journals that start off early in the year can show the progress toward your goals, one post at a time!


4) Besides journaling, a personal history log can be used to record one or two significant events that occur each day for a month. It may be especially useful for individuals who have difficulty remembering dates, being aware, or being oriented to time. Writing information down and seeing it can help a person understand the passage of time, what has happened over time, help organize daily activities into logical sequences, prioritize assignments, errands & appointments, etc.*


5) Daily living checklists are designed to help the survivor with personal hygiene, meal preparation, maintaining a household, driving, and taking medication(s) as prescribed. The Employment Checklist emphasizes the skills necessary to function in the workplace.*


6) Visual Reminders are designed to minimize the survivor’s reliance on memory. They may be copied and posted in useful places where the survivor lives. Suggested locations include near the door most often used to enter or leave the home, near the kitchen stove, and/or on a bulletin board.*


7) Treatment tasks and goals are designed for use primarily during rehabilitation sessions with the assistance of a cognitive therapist, counselor or therapist. These aids are particularly useful for periodic patient self-evaluation. They also help the survivor and family focus on issues that are essential to cognitive recovery.*


8) Personal and household information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and other important personal information that might be needed daily can be kept in a visible place. Financial management and budget worksheets help the survivor keep track of information that might be lost due to impaired organizational skills.*


Application of some (or many) of these techniques can help a TBI survivor simplify daily tasks, communicate effectively, and cope with difficulties experienced as a result of memory loss or attention deficits.*


Stay the course!


Envision a better year ahead.

Keeping your focus on your “New Year’s Revolution” can help you make change happen – at whatever rate your personal situation will allow. Resolutions are often dropped as their immediacy fades with time…a “revolution” is a stronger approach because it’s a plan! Incremental steps, along with a plan in place, can produce marked and measurable results – and as I had stated earlier, your results will vary, as every traumatic brain injury (TBI) is as individual as your fingerprints…no two TBIs are the same. My most sincere suggestion of working along with your clinician, family member, caregiver, friends, etc. in doing this is the best approach – everyone needs a sounding board…and a cheerleader! There is a proverb that says, “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” – that’s a revolutionary approach. I wish you much success in this new year!


(*Referenced from Lash & Associates’ book (by Debbie A. Leonhardt, M.A., NCC, LPC), titled “Survival Kit” – a great resource for planning, goals, and progress after TBI)

One response to “Resolve to Make A New Year’s TBI Revolution!”

  1. This article is a wonderful reminder for TBI survivors and their friends and family.

    I love the part of being a cheerleader for others. This empathy works both ways, in making the “cheerie” and the “cheerleader” both see and acknowledge their self-worth.

    Thanks again for sharing this.

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