New Year’s Resolutions for Health – Part 1: Setting Goals


New Year’s Resolutions for Health – Part 1: Setting Goals

Each January, gyms around the country fill to capacity with new members, inspired by the resolutions they’ve made for the new year. Many want to lose weight; others want to grow stronger or just get healthier in general. In this post, we’ll explore the origin of resolutions, examine the importance of putting health first in the new year and offer tips on setting goals for resolution success.

What are New Year’s resolutions?

Believe it or not, New Year’s resolutions date all the way back to the Babylonians—at the start of each year, they would pay their debts and return objects they’d borrowed as they made promises to their gods.

In modern times, the most common resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits and adapting to a healthier lifestyle. Some may decide to start an exercise regimen. Others may want to stop smoking or decrease their intake of alcohol. There’s no rule book on the specifics of resolutions, as healthier changes are always a good step in the right direction.

Putting Health First in the New Year

There’s no time like the present to take better care of yourself. Setting goals in the new year gives you an easy way to begin measuring your success and develop timelines for realizing your resolutions.

A great way to start is by doing a physical and mental audit of how you’re feeling. Schedule routine check-ups, get a flu shot (if you haven’t already) and learn about what your body needs the most to thrive. If you’re tired, see a doctor about effective ways to get more sleep. If you’d like to lose or gain weight, meet with a nutritionist to discuss the healthiest ways to achieve that goal.

Setting Goals

Once you’ve identified the area or areas of yourself you’d like to work on, it’s time to set goals and determine how you’re going to reach them. Here are some helpful tips to stay on track for success:

  • Identify the real issues. If you have a bad health habit that can cause you harm, determine why that behavior is happening. Once the root of the problem is clear, you (and your health professional) can determine the right strategy for overcoming the poor habit.
  • Set realistic milestones. For example, if you want to lose weight, decide on a small goal (perhaps 10 lbs.) and see that through before you continue on to the next step to achieve your ultimate goal weight. Beginning with a more aggressive target can seem insurmountable and possibly discourage you from keeping your resolution.
  • Craft a sensible timeline. Once you’ve decided on a course of action for your resolution, make a time-table of when you’ll reach each step of the plan. Start out very conservatively until your new habit becomes your new normal. Then, adjust the time-table as necessary.
  • Remove barriers to success. If your resolution is to eat more nutritious meals, stop stocking your shelves with junk food. If the temptation isn’t there, ‘cheating’ will become much more difficult.
  • Build support. It’s always easier to win a game if you have cheerleaders in your corner. When you make your resolution, be sure to surround yourself with family, friends and medical professionals who have your back. From words of encouragement to celebrations at milestones, support from those around you can mean the difference between success and failure.
  • Make your journey joyful. If you want to get in better shape and the gym sounds like punishment, find an alternate form of exercise that you enjoy such as dancing or running. If you want to eat healthier, experiment with new recipes that contain foods you know you like. Resolutions should be fun; if you view them as a punishment, you’re much less likely to keep them.

More Information

If you need help setting goals and creating a health plan that’s ideal for you, consult with the Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice. For assistance with meal planning and establishing the right diet for your body, contact the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center. Or, for general inquiries, complete the form on the Contact page.