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About Those New Year’s Resolutions

New Years resolutionsSusan Brown Health and Wellness EditorAccording to some polls, more Americans would like to save money this year than lose weight, although weight loss and fitness remain strong in position number two. Another poll showed that the most common resolutions include healthier eating, getting more exercise and saving more money in equal measure. Additionally, prioritizing sleep, reading more books, learning a new skill, spending more time with family and friends, quitting smoking, finding new employment and taking up a new hobby are high on the resolution list. Surprisingly, fully one third of Americans don’t plan to make any lifestyle changes at all. One might wonder if these individuals are the most healthy or the least healthy among us. Regardless of whether we have been successful with past resolutions, fully sixty percent of hopeful Americans make resolutions for the new year. Of those who do make resolutions, roughly eight percent succeed.

Don’t let that statistic discourage you though, as this just might be the year that you don’t fall back on old habits by mid-January and will follow through and achieve your 2019 goals. Per the American Psychological Association, the new year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping changes. However, it is a time reflect on the past year’s behaviors and consider what positive changes you’d like to see happen this year. Even when you are keen to reinvent yourself, aiming to overhaul an entire lifestyle at one time is much more difficult to achieve than focusing on one or two of your most important objectives. By making resolutions that are realistic and setting small attainable goals, one is more likely to make lasting lifestyle changes.

Remember, self-improvement decisions can be made on any of the 365 days of the year. Start on the day you are ready, rested and self-motivated.

Make resolutions only when you are ready and clearly willing to make a change. Commit 100 percent to changes that are fundamentally meaningful to you personally, not for the expectations of others.

The most successful individuals are those who work to replace one, or possibly two, unhealthy behaviors at a time. Set clear, short-term attainable goals with results that can be measured.

Changes require a realistic plan to realize success. To be effective, goals should be specific, relevant and achievable. If you’d like to lose 20 pounds, set a reasonable goal to cut 300 -500 calories a day to lose about one pound each week.

While you may desire to lose weight, exercise regularly and save money, experts recommend concentrating on the most important goal that will have the greatest impact on happiness and self-esteem.

Perseverance is the key to success. Great results come from a series of simple disciplines practiced every day. Large goals broken down into small goals can be accomplished more quickly and easily for long-term gain.

Setbacks are normal and to be expected. Don’t use small failures as an excuse to give up. Make a mental note of what caused the setback and try, try again. Keep moving forward and success will follow.

Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Changes are often incremental. Start walking 30 minutes a day now if you want to run a marathon next year.

Give your resolution a fighting chance with a month of solid, uninterrupted effort. Then decide if you want to stick with the goal or forgo the change. Consistency forms habits that become second nature given enough time.

If you make it to the end of January without relinquishing your goal, celebrate! Then formulate a new plan for February and continue on your journey toward improved health and wellness in 2019.

References:
10 Sure Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions. https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-sure-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions/
Lose weight? Check. Start Exercising? Check. Stop smoking? Check. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resolution.aspx
Forget SMART Goals – Try CLEAR Goals Instead. https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/forget-smart-goals-try-clear-goals-instead.html
How to actually make and keep New Year’s resolutions according to a behavioral scientist. https://www.businessinsider.com/make-and-keep-new-years-resolutions-science-backed-2017-12
Seven steps for making your New Year’s resolutions stick. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/seven-steps-for-making-your-new-years-resolutions-stick