Disclosure :: This post was sponsored by Ochsner Health and written by Dr. Melissa Love.
How To Keep New Year’s Resolutions
January is all about New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, most people struggle with maintaining their commitments for more than a few months. But there’s a way to be successful! It’s possible to keep your New Year’s resolutions throughout the year, especially with the proper motivation and planning. Here are some tips and resources to help you along the way.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to transform your habits and routines at once. Goal setting only works if it is realistic. Changing your habits isn’t easy, and it can take a few months to rewrite ingrained habits. Often, it’s better to start slowly and intentionally with your health changes and allow yourself to form new habits before layering new goals.
As you set out towards your goal, remember that making smart food and fitness choices every day is not easy. Beginning and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint! When considering what you’d like your New Year’s resolution to be, follow these three steps:
- Start small. Make manageable and achievable personal goals for yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up on them.
- Be specific. Making detailed resolutions will help you to achieve them and give you a visible goal you can plan toward.
- Reward yourself. Celebrate your successes in achieving your resolutions and steps along the way. Try for rewards that aren’t centered around food or beverages. It helps to have the reward also give you physical benefits that come with exercise or stress reduction so that your rewards don’t set you back from your original goals. Some examples: a manicure, a pedicure, a walk with a friend, trying a new activity, pickleball, dancing, or bicycling, or acquiring new fitness gear.
What you put into your body is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. If you decide that this is the year you want to focus on eating healthier, here’s a three-step recipe for success:
- Moderate your sugar intake. Refined white sugar contains a lot of calories with no essential nutrients or vitamins, fiber, protein or fat. This type of sugar is added to foods to make them more appealing. While not all sugars are bad for us, this is the type you should avoid. Consuming too much sugar can lead to diabetes, heart disease, liver problems and premature aging. Make a habit of checking food product labels and opt for products with less sugar. In fact, learning how to read nutrition labels can help you make informed choices about what you’re eating.
- Drink more water.Hydration has a big impact on your energy level and alertness. It is recommended to get half your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example: a 120-pound person would drink 60 ounces, and a 200-pound person would drink 100 ounces. Next time, instead of reaching for a carbonated beverage or cup of coffee, choose water instead. Water can be plain water or versions of flavored water, coffee, or unsweetened tea as other options. If you need help keeping track, look up an app in your app store to track your water intake. If you have a device like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, it includes a water tracking option!
- Remove temptations. Avoid purchasing unhealthy snacks. If you keep them out of the house, you’ll have less temptation. When it comes to finding the right type of snacks, the key is to keep it controlled. Watch for added sugars and salt, and try making healthier versions of packaged snacks at home so you can choose the ingredients. Here are some suggestions for healthy crunchy snack swaps and healthy late-night snacks.
There will be times when you fail, but that’s okay! Give yourself grace to make a better health-focused decision the next time and go from there. Also remember, life happens, so if at first you don’t succeed, try again! No one states that your new resolution must start on Jan. 1. It can start at any time, any date or anywhere! So, let’s set some new resolutions! And don’t forget to get yourself on track in the new year with a visit to a primary care provider. Make an appointment in just a few clicks.
Learn more about Dr. Melissa Love and Primary Care at Ochsner Health.
Dr. Melissa Love received her M.D. degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. She completed her internship and residency at Moses Cone Family Medicine in Greensboro, NC. Dr. Love’s special interests include women’s health and adolescent care.