Aspirus provides tips to achieve New Year’s resolutions

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – Aspirus Health recently provided tips to achieve New Year’s resolutions.

“The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh and think about the year ahead,” Aspirus said. “A recent study published by Public Health Nutrition (PHN) found that 40 to 45% of Americans will make one or more New Year’s resolutions around lifestyle, including health behaviors such as eating healthy, weight loss, exercise or quitting smoking.”

 According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 75% of people who make a resolution stick to it within the first week. After six months, the number drops to 46% of people who are still following their resolution.

 “What is the best way to find a New Year’s resolution and stick with it? Instead of picking a broad goal like losing weight, pick an easily obtainable goal,” Aspirus stated.

“If you want to lose weight, think about what habits you can change to make it happen,” said Jaime Oswald, MD, Aspirus Family Medicine Physician. “For example, a good goal may be eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day for two weeks. After the two weeks are up, you can reflect and reevaluate your goals.” 

Oswald. Photo courtesy of Aspirus.

 Aspirus noted that normally, people procrastinate with their resolutions because they have the entire year, so it is much easier to obtain your goal in a brief period of time.

 “Another good example of a simple New Year’s resolution would be to exercise five days a week for two weeks,” Oswald stated. “After two weeks, you may realize you were unable to make it to the gym five days a week. This would be a great time to change your goal to something more attainable, like starting with just three days of exercise per week.”

Oswald added that being able to accomplish your goal will make you feel good about yourself and more likely to continue with your good habits.

“Remember that the first step to change is identifying a goal and without setting a New Year’s resolution there would be nothing to resolve,” Oswald said.

Oswald and the American Medical Association (AMA) offered the following goal-setting advice:

Record and visualize your goals to maintain focus. Write them down and display them in visible places, like your mirror, refrigerator or desk. Consider creating a “vision board” with images that represent your goals.

Set SMART goals with specific actions:

  • Specific: Clearly define your goal as a particular action item (e.g., “Exercise three days a week”).
  • Measurable: Attach a quantifiable metric and a realistic timeframe to your goal (e.g., “Go to the gym three days a week for a month”).
  • Attainable: Ensure your goal is realistic, adjusting if necessary for smaller, achievable wins.
  • Relevant: Align your goals with your genuine aspirations and interests.
  • Time-based: Set deadlines for your goals to assess progress regularly and make adjustments as needed.

Identify potential obstacles and plan to overcome them. Alongside your goals, outline specific challenges you may face, enabling you to create backup plans and strategies to address them.

Establish a support system for accountability and encouragement. Having a network that follows up, encourages and keeps you on track can significantly contribute to goal achievement. Consider partnering with a friend for gym sessions or races.

Reflect and reevaluate monthly. Set reminders to review and adjust your goals regularly. Use this time to track your progress, make necessary changes, and ensure ongoing success throughout the year.

“The New Year also provides a new opportunity to connect with your primary care clinician as they can provide valuable goal setting advice and help determine your SMART goals for the year,” Aspirus stated.

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