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Making Good on New Year's Resolutions

Category: Patient Stories
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If you have a tradition of making New Year's resolutions, only to abandon them by June, you're not alone. According to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, of the 40-45 percent of American adults who make at least one resolution in January, only 54 percent are still on track the following July. There are many reasons people struggle to stay motivated, including:

  • Shorter days and longer nights
  • Undefined game plan
  • Unrealistic goals
  • Being self-critical
  • Lack of support

If you've lost momentum, don't wait until next year to get back on track. Whether you want to exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking, cut down on drinking, spend more time with your family, work fewer hours, take up a new hobby or tackle a home improvement project, this six-step process can help you reach your goals:

Step 1: Aim Lower

You may have simply set the bar too high. Instead of a sweeping declaration like "I will lose 30 pounds by April," shift your focus away from weight loss by creating more reasonable goals for yourself, like packing your own lunches or taking a 30-minute walk before dinner.

Step 2: Don't Overload Yourself

Trying to change everything at once practically guarantees failure. Rather than saddle yourself with three or four ambitious resolutions, choose the one that is most important to you right now, like scheduling a physical or resolving to get at least seven hours of sleep.

Step 3: Use What Works

Tap into expert advice from friends, colleagues, and consultants who have overcome obstacles similar to yours. Try adopting, and adapting, specific recommendations that have proven successful for others.

Step 4: Set a Date

Sometimes the most effective way to accomplish a New Year's resolution is to define your own start date. The second Sunday in March, when you set your clocks one hour forward to daylight saving time, is a good time to launch a lifestyle change.

Step 5: Share Your Goals

There's no shame in using peer pressure to help you maintain momentum. The more people you talk with about your personal goals, the more accountable you are to yourself and others, and the more likely you are to stay on course.

Step 6: Think Big Picture

Change isn't easy, so a little perspective goes a long way. If you want to save more and spend less, staying focused on your long-term goals can help you walk away from impulse purchases.

Walking the Talk

St. Luke's is committed to "walking the talk" by helping employees stay on track with their own healthy resolutions. Go! is an organization-wide initiative that encourages staff members to choose healthier food options at work and integrate exercise into their daily routine by walking 10,000 steps a day and taking the stairs. In conjunction with American Heart Month, St. Luke's has also launched Step to a Healthy Heart, which challenges employees to walk and/or lose weight. To date, 600 employees on 35 teams are literally walking the talk by making heart-healthy lifestyle changes.