Welcome to a new year! For many people, January is a time of renewal. A time to think about the possibilities of a new year and create resolutions for change. New Year’s resolutions may involve losing weight, dating or changing jobs. And while more than 40 percent of Americans say they make New Year’s resolutions each year, University of Scranton reports that just 8 percent of people achieve the goals they make. We are heading to the end of the month and wonder if you are sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions
Why do most resolutions lose steam after a few weeks? Often it’s because they are made on a whim without a deliberate plan to change behavior.
To help avoid New Year’s resolution failures, consider the SMART method.
S: Set a measurable, achievable goal. Be realistic about what you can fit into your current lifestyle.
M: Monitor your progress. Keep track of your efforts, even on the days when you don’t hit the mark.
A: Arrange your world for success. Make sure you have everything you need, whether it is equipment or time on your calendar.
R: Recruit support. Friends and family members can help keep you accountable and be your cheerleaders!
T: Treat yourself. Celebrate your successes! When a behavior is rewarded it is more likely to be repeated.
If you want to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, here’s a quick example of how to make that resolution stick:
- Set a measurable, achievable goal: Adding an additional 30 minutes of exercise twice per week is an example of a measurable, achievable goal.
- Monitor your progress: Track the amount of exercise you complete each week. Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. Even if you don’t exercise during a particular week, be sure to keep a record.
- Arrange your world for success: Keep a pair of running shoes and workout clothes in your car so that you can conveniently walk, run or hike outside after work or stop at the gym before starting your day.
- Recruit support: Find a friend or family member who will encourage you to stay on track. Perhaps they’ll want to join you!
- Treat yourself: On weeks that you reach your goal, find a simple way to reward yourself for your success — even just saying “good job” to yourself. Behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to be repeated.
Best wishes for a healthy, successful and SMART 2017!
By Patricia Dietzgen, D.O., a family medicine physician practicing at the Kaiser Permanente Frisco Medical Offices
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