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Setting and Achieving New Year's Resolutions

For such a common practice, New Year’s Resolutions are remarkably challenging. Research shows that Americans spend a lot of time looking at health information online, about 80% of us. About half of those searches are on dieting/weight loss, and those searches peak the last week of December and the first three weeks of January. The most common goals are to stop smoking (#1), and lose weight (#2). The challenge is making those resolutions stick.

We like to set big goals of what we will do in the year. However, when we set big goals and don’t reach them, we get big disappointment. Setting small weekly or monthly goals will help you make progress.

Rather than setting goals for outcomes, set goals for behaviors. You can control behaviors even when the outcomes are complicated. Setting goals for daily physical activity is going to give you more benefits than just weight loss. Eating a wider variety of healthful foods will give you more benefits as well.

Set up a social network of like-minded friends/family that will help. Having a workout partner/smoking cessation partner makes the likelihood of success much higher. Be realistic, you aren’t going to change the world overnight. The idea of setting goals is great, but the real goal is not letting previous failures stop our progress toward optimal health.


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