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New resolutions = new you?

Elaine Gonya, Licensed Athletic Trainer, Aurora Sports Medicine Institute

New You resolutions can begin anytime. However, before taking on a list too cumbersome to handle, it may be wise to take a few moments to reflect on previous "victories" experienced, challenges faced, and of course, goals that went unrealized. What were the reasons why you succeeded or didn't?

New year = New Year's resolutions?

Many sources site that the average American's New Year's resolutions include common themes such as weight loss, smoking or drinking cessation, spending more time with family, trying something new, spiritual growth, taking a trip, and financial improvement. This time, how about committing, really commiting, to a "life change" that includes several of the most common resolutions?

If estimates are accurate, over 90 percent of New Year's resolutions are not realized. Perhaps it's time to re-examine how resolutions are designed to increase their success rate.

WellnessGenerally, people tend to choose a resolution that fits into one category of a common wellness model (see diagram).

However, this time, when determining your new goals, why not focus on setting small, attainable ones that incorporate more than one dimension of wellness.

As small changes become easier down the road, gradually add new challenges to improve your personal wellness. Before you know it, subtle changes will have become part of your everyday life.

Research indicates that it generally takes about one month to create a habit. If that's the case, is committing to a new personal goal for one solid month, really that unrealistic? Of course not!

Here are a few simple suggestions for subtle changes that can add up to significant wellness results when you make a commitment to improve your quality of life. So, grab a pencil and let's get started on your new wellness plan! By writing your "plan" down, you have a better chance of achieving your goals.

  1. From the categories below, start checking off items on each list that you can actually commit to for the upcoming months.
  2. While you are at it, add things to each category that fit your life or goals.
  3. Have ideas for other categories? Then add those that reflect your life values or additional facets of what "wellness" means to you.
  4. In those new categories, take a few moments to jot down a few realistic life improvements that you can actually commit to for the next couple of months. Be sure to include one or two activities that require some "stretching" on your part to achieve.
  5. Don't forget to reward yourself for completing a goal. Pick something that's a special treat just for you ™ and then use it for motivation to remain on your path to personal wellness.

For most people, significant life changes occur when a person is unafraid of change, and ultimately, unafraid to commit to something new. The simple answer when you find yourself in the dreaded health and fitness rut is to "get moving".

  • Get moving today! Devote some time to actually planning your New You resolutions.
  • Get moving today! Commit to a solid month of "moving!" Commit to subtle changes until they are a habit. You have a better chance of maintaining healthy changes, if you gradually increase your commitment to your health.
  • Get moving today! Wellness is a personal choice. Choose to not remain idle, but rather choose to do something better!

Category: Simple diet changes

  • Add one or two more servings of vegetables or fruits per day
  • Decrease fried foods
  • Try cooking at home or packing a lunch versus eating out (Hint: start with one day/week more than you do now)
  • Recipe modifications: type of cooking oil, low sodium, low fat options, etc.
  • Moderate portion sizes – bigger is not always better!
  • Decrease alcohol consumption
  • Take a multi-vitamin

Category: Fitness program

  • Do something! Three to five days/week; 20 – 30 minutes/day
  • Set realistic, attainable goals. It didn't take one month to gain 15 pounds; they certainly won't disappear in one month.
  • Find a work-out partner who will hold you accountable for working-out or even working-out with you
  • Add variety and fun to your fitness! Join a league; learn a new sport!

Category: Stress management

  • Volunteer once/month for a community service event
  • Schedule a time for your favorite hobby
  • Connect/re-connect with your spiritual side
  • Schedule a massage, plan a short "get away," escape to a movie

Category: Emotional/mental health

  • Commit to improving your self-esteem/self-confidence
  • Seek resources that assist with conflict resolution or reduction of personal "baggage"
  • Re-connect with an old friend who makes you laugh

For more information about this or other sports medicine topics, call the Aurora Sports Medicine Hotline™ at 414-219-7776 or 800-219-7776.