New Year's Resolutions - "I want to be healthy...this time I mean it."

Every year, millions of Americans set New Year’s resolutions related to improving their overall health.  Often times, poor planning and commitment result in failed resolutions.  In fact, 46% of people who make resolutions are able to keep them for at least six months.  Further, only 8% of people are able to keep their resolutions through the end of the year!  Why do people fail at achieving their New Year’s resolutions?  One of the main reasons is that people set their resolutions for the wrong reason.  Often it is the case that resolutions are set for externally motivating reasons, such as, “I want to look good for my class reunion.”  In order to promote more successful resolutions, practitioners encourage people to set resolutions that are internally motivating, such as, “I have a desire to be healthy and see my kids grow old.”  Another reason people often fail is they expect their resolutions are going to be easy.  Further, they may not plan for discomfort or barriers and give up when faced with adversity. In fact, 71% of successful resolvers at six months said that their first slip-up strengthened their efforts.  One final reason why people may fall short of achieving their resolution is a tendency to focus on the short-term satisfaction rather than seeing the long-term pay out.

The percentage of individuals who kept their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.

The percentage of individuals who kept their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.

So how can we ensure success for our New Year’s resolutions?  First, start by creating a specific action plan.  It is important to set a realistic, attainable goal.  Using SMART goal setting strategies can be an effective way to outline a specific New Year’s resolution plan.  Second, it is important to approach your resolution with confidence. Facing challenges and barriers with the confidence that you can handle and overcome them will help ensure that any slip-ups only further your desire to achieve your resolution.  Finally, social support can play a huge role in a successful resolution.  Publicly declare your resolution, whether it is through social media, telling a friend, significant other, or family.  It is important to incorporate successful strategies in order to improve self-efficacy, self-esteem, and a healthy lifestyle.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to nutrition, exercise, stress management, and goal setting.  Further, we can assist in helping you develop a specific action plan that will help you achieve your New Year’s resolution.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources:  Keeping New Years Resolutions:  What Works for Your Patients?  John Watson, Medscape, January 4, 2017.

Promoting Positive Behavior Change - Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors

Goal setting can be an appropriate first step in promoting positive change to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Using a goal setting strategy, such as SMART goals, can help increase motivation, self-efficacy, and self-esteem for behaviors.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help an individual set appropriate health goals and create an effective strategy for promoting behavior change.

SMART goals can be used to help an individual set appropriate, specific goals that can help with the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Often times, we fail to set appropriate goals and therefore set ourselves up to fail.  SMART is an acronym that can be used to outline our goals in an efficient and meaningful manner.

Specific – what specifically will you achieve?

Measurable – how will you know when you’ve completed your goal?

Action-Oriented/Achievable – something you can do; is this goal attainable?

Realistic/Relevant –will I realistically be able to achieve this; why is it important?

Time-Based – set a deadline to complete your goal

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Once we set a SMART goal there are several strategies that we can take to help ensure success in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors.  First, we want to write our goal down.  Writing it down helps make the goal concrete and hold us accountable.  Second, we want to consider long-term and short-term goals.  Long-term goals are great because they function as the big prize we are working towards, but they lack immediate feedback.  Short-term goals can be used as a path to our long-term goals and help provide motivation and feedback along the way. Additionally, it is important to evaluate and revise our goals along the way.  Finally, we want to consider the potential barriers we might right into during our journey to achieve our goals.  If we plan out the barriers and solutions ahead of time, we will be much more inclined to overcome these barriers when they pop up.

Using SMART goals and goal setting strategies can help to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors and promote positive behavior change.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by discussing your specific health goals and working with you to develop a goal setting plan.  We can assist by providing specific strategies and education that will help you adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors.

By Matt Lewandowski