UK HealthCare

SMART ways to make those New Year’s resolutions stick

Alessandro Biascioli | iStock / Getty Images Plus
Alessandro Biascioli, iStock/Getty Images Plus

The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Shorus Minella, dietitian and patient education coordinator at UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart & Vascular Institute.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 2, 2024) – If you’re looking for ways to make those New Year’s resolutions stick, try finding something you are really motivated to do. You are more likely to want to work towards a goal if you enjoy the activity. For example, if you want to start exercising but hate exercise equipment at the gym, find a dance or aerobic class instead.

After you’ve identified something you want to work towards, be realistic and set a specific goal. Instead of a broad goal like “I want to eat healthy,” instead, try “I want to eat two cups of vegetables every day.” You’re more likely to accomplish and stick to a specific goal. Following the SMART goals concept is a great guide to setting and sticking to goals.

Here’s what to keep in mind when making your goals:

  • Specific – Giving yourself a very specific goal makes it easier to achieve. For example, instead of setting a goal to lose weight, aim for a specific number, such as five pounds. When you reach that goal, aim for another five pounds.
  • Measurable – Set yourself up for success by tracking your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come is an excellent motivator!
  • Achievable – If you’ve never run a step in your life, vowing to run a marathon might be a difficult goal to stick to. Start small by running around the block, then a mile, then try signing up for a community 5K.
  • Relevant – Your goals should be in line with your values and passions. You’re more likely to achieve your goal if you are enjoying it!
  • Time-Based – Give yourself a realistic time frame to complete your goal.

Most importantly, give yourself grace during your journey. Celebrate your successes but don’t get discouraged by any setbacks. Talk to your doctor or check in with local health department for resources and programs to help you meet your goals.

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.