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Making New Year’s Resolutions When You Have Chronic Pain

clock, pen and notebook reading “new year, new me”

How to Set Goals & Stay Motivated with Chronic Pain

A new year brings fresh opportunities to make big changes whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier, or tackle debt. For people living with chronic pain and illnesses, finding the time or energy to make such transformations can be difficult.

Goal setting is extremely beneficial for chronic pain sufferers as it provides a sense of direction through the fog of pain, helping you stay motivated. Make the most of this new year and stop pain from getting in the way of becoming a new you with Doctor Hoy’s® tips for a pain-free new year.

How do you set and achieve New Year’s resolutions with chronic pain?

When you have a chronic condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, being kind to yourself and starting small will help you set and achieve the New Year goals you want most. Making drastic changes too soon and being too self-critical causes more pain and frustration, setting you up for disaster.

You should also have a good pain management plan in place or be working toward one. Whether it's staying on top of your medication or using a topical pain reliever like Doctor Hoy’s for relief when you need it, managing your pain sets the foundation for more achievable and long-term goals for chronic pain.

sticky notes, pen, coffee and plant on desk

Tips on Goal Setting for the New Year

Due to the nature of most chronic pain conditions, setting achievable New Year’s resolutions can feel like a challenge when others seem to have it so easy. This New Year, take a different approach to your goals by focusing on what works best for you and your pain using the following tips:

  • BE STRATEGIC: When painful days arise, it’s best to have a strategy for dealing with them. When arthritis gets in the way of your daily exercise routine, take a rest day or use Doctor Hoy’s pain relief gel to relieve discomfort and stay on track.
  • START SMALL: Small goals achieve big results and they make it easier to stay committed in the long term. If you want to declutter your home, start with your kitchen drawers. Start a new exercise routine by going to the gym twice a week.
  • TAKE IT ONE GOAL AT A TIME: It’s normal to have several New Year’s resolutions in mind, but changing too much at once may overwhelm you physically and mentally. Once you feel secure enough in one, incorporate the next.
  • SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE: Talking about your goals and frustrations with friends, families, or other peers with chronic pain can provide the support and understanding you need to keep going.
  • FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY: You have all year to achieve your New Year’s goals and setbacks will happen. The best way to cope is getting back on your feet and continuing the journey, focusing on progress instead of perfection.
  • ASK FOR HELP: Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether that means asking for assistance with household chores or reaching out to a therapist. Getting the help you need will enable you to achieve more, save energy, and feel supported.
  • DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF: The goals you set for yourself are for you and your life, not the lives of others. Your friends and people on social media are following a different timeline, and nothing should make you feel like you're falling behind.

Man using topical pain relief gel on knee

New Year’s Resolutions for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Maybe you’re thinking about switching to a natural pain relief method or finding the trigger for your migraine headaches. Your New Year’s goal does not have to be related to your chronic pain. However, some common resolutions can certainly help like having a healthier work-life balance or finding new ways to reduce stress.

Depending on the condition and circumstances, the following New Year’s resolution ideas can prove useful for those with chronic pain:

  • GET ACTIVE: Exercise is great for your overall health, and it helps reduce inflammation in the body. Try low-impact activities like yoga stretches, swimming, or hobbies like gardening for a low pain way to become more active.
  • SLEEP BETTER: Sleep is important for chronic pain as it helps us heal and think effectively. Rather than just getting enough sleep, focus on improving the quality of your sleep naturally.
  • EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES: Fruits and vegetables have important nutrients that can help boost immunity, reduce pain from inflammation, and even promote weight loss.
  • DRINK MORE WATER: Dehydration can make you more sensitive to pain. Drinking more water helps the body flush out toxins and improves circulation.
  • REDUCE STRESS: Many people want to feel less stressed in the new year. Anxiety and stress often make chronic pain worse and affect other areas of our lives. Learn healthy methods of stress relief like meditation, journaling, or aromatherapy.
  • START THERAPY: It’s often easier to avoid therapy than to go to it. Start this year off on the right foot by going to physical therapy for your mobility issues or back pain, or talking to a psychologist about your anxiety

Resolve to be Pain-Free with Doctor Hoy’s

With a set of achievable New Year’s goals and a pain management plan, you can make this year the year of YOU. Doctor Hoy’s pain relief topicals and creams help reduce the amount of pain in your life so you can do more. Discover fast-acting, powerful relief for back pain, joint pain and sore muscles with Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel and Arnica Boost Recovery Cream for soothing skin irritation and inflammation.


2020 New Year’s Resolutions for a Happier, Pain-Free You. (2020, January 24). PMIR.

Going into the New Year with Chronic Pain. (2021, December 21). University of New Hampshire Extension.

Metraux, J. (2023, January 4) 5 Actually Helpful New Year's Resolutions for People With Chronic Illness and Disability. Health.

New Year’s Resolutions and Chronic Pain. (n.d.). PainScale.

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