The Best New Year’s Resolutions Start with Taking Care of Your Health
The holidays are over! The planning, the shopping, the parties, the cards, the decorating, the baking, the celebrating. So now what? Oh yes! The other time honored tradition of New Year’s Resolutions! Whether you decide to eat healthier, begin or return to a fitness routine or quit a bad habit, a resolution will lead to a healthier and better you. This is easier said than done and sometimes, resolutions become all about keeping resolutions. January is the easy part, as are most things in the beginning. Motivation is high because many of the people around you, family, friends and co-workers, are also trying to better themselves. It is the maintaining the change into the next few months and extending the resolution into a change into a healthier lifestyle where it becomes a challenge. One study conducted in 2002 found that 75% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were able to uphold the lifestyle change for one week. That number dropped to 46% at the six month mark and only 1 in 10 people were able to reach their goal that had been set at the New Year.
So the question is: How did that 10% make it? How did they maintain lifestyle changes to take better care of themselves when others couldn’t? We all want to be healthy, so why is is so difficult to achieve? One journal article reported that people who were successful in maintaining resolutions to take better care of themselves made a plan several days before the end of the year. The plan was well thought out and included smaller goals people really wanted to change about their health. Smaller goals which are measurable and time based are less overwhelming to people, thus more attainable to those attempting to make positive health changes.
Another strategy to maintaining resolutions is to choose one behavior at a time that you would like to improve upon, rather than changing several aspects. This makes change more realistic and manageable. If you want to be more fit, then set a goal of exercising 3-4 times per week rather than all 7 days. If you want to eat healthier, replace desert with a healthy snack. Once a smaller goal is achieved, then moving onto another in order to meet the larger resolution is far less intimidating.
You also need support. Tell your family and friends about your goal of a healthier you. Making any kind of positive health change is hard and will have its challenges. You will be more successful if you can share your struggles with the people in your life you trust the most. Also, be willing to forgive yourself for any struggles or roadblocks you may encounter. If you recognize that challenges are normal to a positive change, you will note the bump in the road and continue to move forward.
Keeping a log will allow you to express your frustrations when you are struggling but will also provide a space for you to visualize your progress which will provide you the motivation you need to keep moving toward your goal. It will also be a concrete place to review your plan you established in the beginning of your journey. An investment in a resolution to become healthier is never a lost cause. If you stumble, get back on your path. Making a stride toward better health is better than not making an attempt. If you have been putting off fixing an injury because you think it will get better with time, another resolution you will be successful in achieving is addressing the injury with a visit to your neighborhood physical therapist. We can help you in recovery and addressing your other health and fitness goals.
So make a plan, set smaller goals that are manageable and realistic and reach out to those that can facilitate your transformation to better health. Make this year your year to invest in you and your health. Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful New Year!
www.apa.org Making your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
www.health.com To 10 Healthiest New Year’s Resolutions
www.nhs.uk 10 secrets for New Year Resolution Success