Create healthy New Year’s resolutions and stick to them

| December 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

1st Lt. Jessica Teachout
Nutrition Care Division
Tripler Army Medical Center

HONOLULU — Something we always associate with a new year are New Year’s resolutions. However, as exciting as they may be, resolutions are often like shooting stars: They fizzle out just as quickly as they are started.

Here are some tips on how to stick to your resolutions this year.

FORT SHAFTER — Soldiers and civilians participate in a yoga demonstration during the U.S. Army-Pacific’s Sisters-in-Arms health and wellness fair at historic Palm Circle, here, June 11. Kristy Osborn, a personal trainer at Schofield Fitness and Health Center, energized the crowd with various interval-training exercises and relaxing yoga. (Staff Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

FORT SHAFTER — Soldiers and civilians participate in a yoga demonstration during the U.S. Army-Pacific’s Sisters-in-Arms health and wellness fair at historic Palm Circle, here, June 11, 2015. Kristy Osborn, a personal trainer at Schofield Fitness and Health Center, energized the crowd with various interval-training exercises and relaxing yoga. (Staff Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Add instead of subtracting
A good place to start with New Year’s resolutions are goals that add to your lifestyle rather than subtract. It is easier to form a new habit than to eliminate one. For example, adding a serving of vegetables to your lunch every day may be a less overwhelming practice than removing all sweets from your diet at once. When you feel more comfortable with adding the healthier habits or foods, you can try reducing some of the less-healthy ones.

Start off slow
Use the SMART goal method to create goals. That is, make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These should be small goals that set you up for success and are clear.

For example, if you walk your dog for 30 minutes, seven days a week, make a goal to extend that to 40 minutes, seven days a week for the rest of the month. That is only 10 extra minutes out of the 1,440 minutes in your day; however, it adds up to over an hour of extra exercise per week.

Once you reach that goal, add on to it or create a new one.

Do not overdo it
Often when we get inspired, we set several goals and vow to make a full lifestyle change. Something like, “I’m going to get eight hours of sleep, stop eating meat and go running 30 minutes every day.”

Piling up all of these goals at one time can seem exciting, but vowing to make so many changes at once is setting you up for failure.

File photo Monitoring your heart and eating properly are both "heart healthy."

File photo
Monitoring your heart and eating properly are both “heart healthy.”

Think about your current habits. You did not establish these practices overnight; it took several years to develop them. Creating new, healthier habits also takes time. In fact, it takes a full 21 times of doing something for it to become a habit, and this only applies to simple changes like hanging up your towel after you shower. Pick one thing you want to accomplish at a time and stick to it.

Make giving up on your resolution painful
Recruit a no-nonsense friend to hold you accountable. Plan to fork up money, do something utterly embarrassing or give up something you enjoy if you do not reach your goal. Make sure your friend holds you responsible. When there is a lot on the line, we somehow find a way to make it happen.

Do not give up
If you fall off the horse one day, do yourself a favor and jump back on tomorrow. Do not fall victim to the “all or nothing approach.” Figure out one thing you can do every day that is a little bit better than yesterday. It does not have to be perfect, just better. After all, we are only human, so be gracious with yourself.

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Category: Health

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