Early each year every website, television newscast, and magazine at the grocery checkout offers advice on New Year’s resolutions. Most of these involve eating a better diet and getting or staying healthy. It’s almost obligatory that I post about making a new start to a healthier lifestyle in the New Year.
But, do you really want to read more about what you should or shouldn’t do, eat or drink?
Most people already know, or they won’t be making those resolutions. Our local newspaper projected that only 8% of all resolutions are kept.
The real key to resolutions is how to make them stick. If I ask in a month, will you still be “working on them?”
The experts say that in order to turn good intentions into long-term actions, you need to set small goals that you can keep. These small changes can add up. Other suggestions include making the goals specific. Don’t choose vague goals like “eat more fruits and vegetables” but instead choose something that is measurable and concrete, “cook one vegetable each night for dinner.” Another key to keeping resolutions is to write them down.
It may also be useful to change the title.
Instead of “New Year’s resolutions,” make them “Resolutions for the Year.” Think about of doing one new thing each month. Then, at the end of the year you’ll have 12 new habits and a more healthful lifestyle. Develop achievable goals based on the changes you’d like to make for yourself.
Here’s another tip: instead of making one long list, write a goal on the first day of each month on your new calendar or in your phone. That way, you’ll see it at the beginning of each month. Do something new each month, but don’t forget to keep going on the goal from the previous month(s). You’ll just keep “adding on” each month.
Simple changes and goals can go a long way to making a big difference in your health.
Next year at this time, if someone asks whether you kept your resolutions from last year you’ll be able to say, “yes, 12 of them.”
By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University