New Year's resolutions, beloved by some and loathed by others, are an integral part of the New Year's tradition. We wish our relationship to the new year to be one of joy and anticipation, and we hope that we'll be able to forge some new habits and accomplish some new things that will further the welfare and well-being of families and ourselves.
For most of us, exercise and a healthy diet are at the top of our New Year's resolutions lists.1 We may have made such commitments in the past, only to fall by the wayside of our exercise routines or see the pounds we worked so hard to lose slowly creep back as we became less committed to our nutrition plans. The resignation that lies concealed behind the all-too-thin veneer of lifestyle upgrade optimism is ready to leap forward at the slightest opportunity and slam the brakes on any forward progress we’ve made.
We need to be on the lookout for such internal negativity and put a stop to it before it hampers our mental and physical abilities to fulfill our New Year's resolutions. Memories of the lack of previous success may be at the forefront of our consciousness whenever we think about recommitting to healthier ways. The only way we can set ourselves in motion is to acknowledge those memories and past experiences and then reorient ourselves and focus on what we intend to accomplish in the present.
In order to successfully fulfill our New Year's resolutions, we need a rehabilitation plan to get away from the addictive hold our memories have on us. The center of this plan is an intentional focus on what there is to do today. We help ourselves by setting out goals for today and then committing ourselves to accomplishing those tasks. We gain personal power, day by day, when we complete our daily list. Gradually, step by step and meal by meal, we begin to build new habits of health.
Our exercise and nutritional plans begin to become realities as we accomplish our daily, weekly, and now monthly goals. Soon we begin to have more energy throughout the day and sleep much more restfully at night. We stand taller, our skin appears brighter, and our sense of well-being and self-confidence begins to be noticed by our families, friends, and coworkers. Now we are well on the way to fulfilling our New Year's resolutions and enjoying long-term health and well-being.2,3
- Byrne DW, et al: Modifiable Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors: 10-Year Health Outcomes From a Health Promotion Program. Am J Prev Med 51(6):1027-1037, 2016
- Patel YR, et al: Adherence to healthy lifestyle factors and risk of death in men with diabetes mellitus: The Physicians' Health Study. Clin Nutr 2016 Nov 11. pii: S0261-5614(16)31317-6. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2016.11.003. [Epub ahead of print]
- Lohse T, et al: Adherence to the cancer prevention recommendations of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research and mortality: a census-linked cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 104(3):678-685, 2016