Mainstream Living

New Year | New Resolutions

The beginning of a new year brings many things, including promises we make to ourselves for improvement.   Popular resolutions include exercising more often, eating healthier, spending less money, and getting more sleep.  On January 1st, people are ready and determined to start afresh!  However, that new found determination can have a tendency to dissipate as the year progresses. So what can we do to help maintain our motivation and keep those promises?  The American Psychological Association has some tips to help keep us on track.

First, start small. Take little steps at a time. Making drastic changes can be hard to stick with over time. If you want to diet, for example, try adding more fruits and vegetables as a start and then work up to additional steps.

Change one behavior at a time. If you try to quit smoking, change your diet, and begin a workout program all at the same time, you may be setting yourself up to fail. Changes can be stressful and hard to maintain. Tackle one issue at a time and be proud of your successes.

Talk about it. Tell your friends and family about your plans and goals. They can share in your successes and also ask how you are doing, which can help hold you accountable to your goals. You may also find a workout buddy or someone to share recipes with.

Don’t beat yourself up. No one is perfect. We all slip up, but that is no reason to quit. After a slip, just start back on track and continue working towards your goals.

Ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help to reach your goals. Friends and family want you to be successful. If you feel like you are struggling, ask for help from loved ones or seek professional help or support if needed. 

Make realistic resolutions. Don't make resolutions that are too difficult or unsafe if done improperly.  For example, safe and healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. If you want to lose 20 pounds, give yourself at least 10 weeks minimum.  If quitting smoking cold turkey is too challenging, try a cessation aid or take advantage of resources such as the State of Iowa's Quitline that will provide free assistance. 

Here's a healthy and successful 2018!

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