Tips on How to Stay on Track with Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's resolutionsJanuary is quickly coming to an end. How have you been doing with those New Year’s resolutions you made? Need a little support?

Yesterday, I was a guest on MPBN Maine Calling. The topic was making and keeping healthy resolutions. My fellow guests were Dr. Victoria Rogers, Director of the Kids CO-OP and Lets Go! and Chris Scott, Associate Professor, USM Department of Exercise, Health and Sport Sciences.

When Jennifer Rooks invited me to be her guest on the show, I laughed and said I never made New Year’s resolutions because when it comes to keeping them, I have failed miserably. That said, I’ve interviewed a lot of people and done a fair amount of research for articles and blog posts about setting and keeping goals. And, to give myself a little credit, even if I can’t manage New Year’s resolutions, I have learned something over the years about achieving goals. So, I said sure I’ll be on the show! Glad I did because it was great fun!

Now I’m going to share some tips from the show and elsewhere on how to stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions — from people who’ve done it! Yes, that’s right. There are people who’ve made New Year’s resolutions and were successful in reaching their goals.

Tips from friends on Facebook
Charity: Set small goals instead of broad, general ones like “lose weight” or “save money.” Try one small step toward that goal — schedule 30 minutes of exercise into each day or switch from drinking soda to seltzer water or save $10 from my paycheck each week. This makes them more realistic and manageable.

Kathleen: I agree with Charity. Small, achievable steps. The weight loss coach in my biz networking group says instead of having “lose weight” as a goal (which makes you feel deprived), make positive resolutions like “eat one more piece of fruit each day” or “take a 10 minute walk each day.”

Marcia: Accountability is always key for me. Whether a personal goal or business goal, having a power partner to check in with regularly keeps me focused and succeeding.

Susan: I totally agree with Charity and Kathleen. My tricks — for exercise: “Let’s take a 7 minute walk” works because I feel I can definitely fit SEVEN minutes of walking into my day and the bonus is once I’m out there, I walk more than 7 minutes! (Always REWARD myself at end of week with something small and non-food related like a new bottle of nail polish.) For finances: Set a 3-month goal toward paying things off. Not that I pay off the entire balance if it’s a car, but I feel as though I’m making progress quickly. At the end of the 3rd payment, once again a small reward. Then start the 3 months again!

Motivation from MPBN Maine Calling
When Jennifer asked Dr. Rogers what advice she’d give someone who lived a pretty sedentary life and wanted to make a change, she answered, ” The most important thing is to get outside and walk. There is lots of evidence about the benefits of walking. It’s great for your cardiovascular health and it’s great for your mind. The more that kids move, when they get back into the classroom they do a better job of learning. Take just a 15 to 20 minute walk and remember to bundle up!”

Chris Scott said that exercise may not be the cure all for all ills, but it’s certainly a runner-up. “It’s amazing all the types of diseases that can benefit from an exercise program,” he said. “Any kind of physical behavior. The data’s quite clear that people who do regular physical activity compared to people who are sedentary have lower mortality rates.”

Roger, a listener, said, “I have found that with minor changes it can make a major difference. By just cutting back little by little, I have been able to lose 40 lbs. in 14 months. My goal when I started was to lose 50 lbs., now having lost 40, I want to lose 25 lbs. more to reach my ideal weight. Things like, 1 less cup of coffee, with sugar. A hand full of raisins, rather than 5 Hershey Kisses, a little bit less on my plate, better choices …”

Two things I shared
I once interviewed a health coach for an article about wellness programs. She said she learned a valuable lesson from one of her first clients. The woman was 32-years old, weight 350 pounds, had high cholesterol and diabetes. When she asked the woman about her goals, the coach expected her to say “Lose 200 pounds and exercise.” Instead she started to cry and told her she wanted to go to the park and go down the slide with her kids. The health coach realized that it was more important to understand why someone wants to make a change, not what he/she wants to change. And yes, the woman met her goal.

I recently came across an infographic from Cleveland Clinic about turning bad kitchen habits into good ones. Here’s an example:

  • Leaving extra food on the stove during dinner.
    • Before sitting down for dinner, transfer leftovers from pots and pans to storage containers and place them in the refrigerator.

More tips from Cleveland Clinic.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions
Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Stay fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

Is your New Year’s resolution on the list? How are you doing? Do you have any tips? Share them! Who doesn’t need a little extra support every now and then? Let’s give and receive!

If you missed us on MPBN Maine Calling, you’re in luck because MPBN offers audio on-demand! Here’s the link: Healthy Resolutions on MPBN Maine Calling.

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For many years Diane Atwood was the health reporter on WCSH6. She's now a regular guest on the WCSH6 Morning Report. She is also a freelance health and wellness writer and blogger AND is pursuing a fine arts degree at the University of Southern Maine. Diane never plans to retire. She's too busy enjoying what she does.