The University of Kentucky Public Relations & Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This column is by Jackie Hanson, a health coach for UK Health & Wellness.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2019) – As the new year begins, so does the pressure to be a new you. Many see the new year as an opportunity to make big changes, such as losing weight or quitting tobacco. But by resolving to make drastic changes, you might find those new changes hard to sustain. To be successful in the new year, and to make resolutions you can stick to, keep the following tips in mind:
- Get ready. If your goal is to exercise more, treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes. If you want to make better food choices, look for new recipes to try. Prep your mindset and environment so that when you’re ready to start making changes, you have everything you need.
- Set small goals. If your plan to eat healthier in the new year means cutting out all the foods you enjoy and eat nothing but salads, you’re going to make yourself miserable and less likely to stick with such a drastic change in the long run. Try to incorporate small changes, such as incorporating a vegetable into one meal each day or having a piece of fresh fruit instead of a sugary snack.
- Don’t listen to your inner critic. Too often we set goals for ourselves that are overly ambitious. If you resolve to lose weight, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away or if you occasionally slip into old habits. If you beat yourself up over what perceive to be a lack of progress, you’re less likely to move forward with positive changes.
- Focus on what’s working for you. So you resolved to get more exercise. But instead of confining yourself to the treadmill for 30 minutes every day, think about otherwise in which you like to move. That could be dance parties with your kids, hiking in Red River Gorge or a stroll after dinner with your family. The first few weeks of the new year is when we work hard to make those changes. Think about what you did in those weeks that you enjoyed and set some new goals based on the activities that bring you joy.
- It’s not you, it’s your environment. Sometimes we don’t have to change ourselves to be healthier and happier. Create an environment that makes you comfortable and surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging. When we’re comfortable, we’re more productive and more motivated and in a better position to make healthier choices.
- Have more compassion for yourself. Don’t think of the new year as the time to create a new version of yourself. Instead, consider this time as a new phase in your life. There may have been a time in your life when you needed to smoke to deal with stress, but now you feel you are past that time and ready to try and healthier ways to address stressful situations.
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