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8 Of The Worst New Year’s Resolutions For Wheelchair-Users

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Love them or hate them, it’s that time of year again to ponder the idea of creating a New Year’s resolution. Be careful what kind of resolution you put forth for yourself in the next 12 months though, especially if you have a disability. We have a tendency to fall prey to some silly ideas, often times stemming from a lack of self-confidence.

And we also need to be extra vigilant about our health. Incorporating that into our resolution, or the resolutions we should steer clear from rather, is key. If you use a wheelchair and are contemplating a resolution for the New Year, read on for the resolutions you should never consider.

Push your wheelchair more.

A wheelchair is a great means of transportation and we all have our favorite kinds when it comes to manual verse powerchairs, but the last thing you want to do more of in the new year is push your manual wheelchair more. While this is an admirable goal, it’s not the most ideal way to get stronger or burn more calories. Your shoulders age faster than you think as a wheelchair-user, and once they’re gone they’re gone.

If you want to build up your stamina, instead, purchase a stationary arm bike or free weights to get the exercise you’re looking for. It might not be as scenic, but your shoulders will thank you.

Fall in love.

A sad but true fact for a lot of people with disabilities is that we’re perpetually single. It’s a statistic many of us don’t like talking about, but there’s no getting around this one lightly – it stinks. While it’s quite alright to make a New Year’s resolution to try online dating or maybe go one more dates (or even a date), making a resolution to explicitly fall in love, even if you’re long due for a great romance, is a horrible idea.

If fact, making this your resolution may even work against you, and instead bring in the wrong kind of people into your life. Remember, when it comes to falling in love, you can’t force it. Just be yourself and go out into the world as much as you can.

Try to fit in with the crowd.

Many of us know a thing or two about being alone when it comes to friends as well. So many jerks out there just don’t give us a chance, with many of us left with diminished friend numbers.  Don’t let this “number” sway you into selling yourself out just to be part of the crowd. Fitting in is so overrated.

It may get lonely at times, but nothing is worth changing who you are to be more accepted. Your “normal” is just as good as theirs. If your loneliness is too much to bear, try making friends with those who have disabilities too. People who can first-hand relate to you can make the best of friends.

Travel to Egypt.

Deemed the one most dangerous places for Americans to travel to in 2013 due to its unstable political atmosphere, going to Egypt as someone who’s both American and physically vulnerable (I hate this word too, but it’s the truth) is really a bad idea currently. Kidnappings and terrorist attacks are the daily norm lately for tourists in this country. Your best bet would be to put off that pyramid tour for at least a year or two to since how things play out.

Eat more seafood.

I love seafood more than the next girl and it’s a great lean protein source for wheelers, but the sorry state of most seafood these days that’s coming out of the seas is depressing. Dangerous amounts of lead is being found in fish, shellfish and everything else alive in the ocean, with most experts saying not to eat seafood more than three times a week.

The best thing to do – very raely seafood. If you’re looking for a regular lean resource of protein, reach instead for free-range organic chicken, turkey or tofu.

Get a new vehicle without shopping around.

So many wheelers strongly covet a new van – a ramp, the automatic tie-downs; it’s a dream for many. Buying new in the car world however, especially adapted vans, is tough. The $40,000 price tag can scare many. Make sure you shop wisely, even consider a van that is lightly used. You will shave at least $10,000 off the price minimum and get a van that will run just as good.

Get a new wheelchair, but forget custom seating.

Many wheelers put down getting a new wheelchair as one of their ultimate goals of an upcoming year. Many insurance companies/plans allow a new wheelchair every 5 or so years. If you plan on getting a new wheelchair in the next year that’s great, but please get customized seating if possible.

They’ll measure you and create a seat and backrest that will fit you perfectly and it will prevent any future skin issues from popping up, which can easily happen in a new-chair situation.

Try to be more like you were before.

If your disability is acquired, chances are you think often or pine after your pre-injury days wishing things were “still the same.” While this is human nature and we’re all guilty of this, this can be one of the most destructive lines of thought. Going back in time, or even trying to make things “seem” like they once were is impossible. Things will never be the same, and this is what you need to accept and focus on instead.

Don’t think all New Year’s resolutions are bad. As a wheeler, many are still worth your time. If you’re overweight, this one remains one of the best “classic” resolutions. Shedding those extra pounds is one of the best things you can do. The same does for being more social or following through on exercising more. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s practical and attainable.

Do you have any resolutions for 2014 inspired by your disability?

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

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About Tiffiny Carlson

Tiffiny Carlson is a writer and quadriplegic from Minneapolis. She has a C6 spinal cord injury from a diving accident when she was 14 years old. Writing and breaking stereotypes is her passion. She's been the SCI Life columnist for New Mobility magazine since 2003 and is the founder of the longtime disability site, BeautyAbility.com. Her work has also been featured in Penthouse, Playgirl and Nerve.com. And when she's not writing, Tiffiny loves to cook and practice adaptive yoga.


2 Responses

  1. [...] Related: 8 Of The Worst New Year’s Resolutions For Wheelchair-Users [...]

  2. avatar Alex says:

    Your selected resolutions were really frank and I love it. I keep smiling when I read all of them. “Travel to Egypt” made me laugh; I love the way you wrote this article. I wonder many wheelchair users would like to go there? You are right; do not change yourself to be others unless you hardly find happiness to your life.

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