How to Make Health Resolutions That Stick

A few days ago, we turned over a new page on the calendar once again. We are now in a new year, and it is time for a fresh start in some ways. If you have not taken the time to reflect on the past year, please take a few moments to look back now. Did you make resolutions or other goals at the beginning of the previous year? If so, how did it all turn out? Did you meet or exceed your expectations, or was the past year one that you were glad to see come to an end? Either way, the year is over now. No matter how great or terrible you thought it was, it is finished. The early part of a new month in a new year is a good time to think about what you would like to see manifested in your life over the next twelve months. In particular, you can set some health goals today that will inspire you over the next few months. If you can keep your resolve and willpower going, you could find yourself very pleased with your progress by the end of this year. Putting some accountability in place will help your progress to become more real and lasting. Common resolutions for health include getting bodywork, working out more, eating healthier, and losing weight. For more measurable results, it is advisable to make all such goals more specific. Examples of more refined health goals are:

 

I will receive acupuncture and some form of bodywork (massage, etc.) every week or every two weeks.

I will exercise for 45-60 minutes a day, five days per week. My main activities will be cardio and resistance training, and I will strive to sweat during each workout.

I will eat meals prepared at home six days a week when I am at home. When I am traveling, I will choose the healthiest options possible. This means that I will avoid processed foods, processed foods, and food additives whenever I can.

I will check my current body mass index (BMI) for my height and weight. If I am overweight or obese according to the BMI measurement, I will determine how much weight I need to lose to return to a healthy BMI range. I will give myself time to lose the weight at a reasonable pace of one to two pounds per week. I will set a date every week to weigh myself and assess how I am doing. During the weekly check-ins, I will make changes if necessary.

 

The next twelve months offer you a chance to make some changes in terms of health and in all other areas of your life as well. Here is what I am doing: for the new year, I am receiving acupuncture on a weekly basis. I am reducing food portion sizes by 1/3. I am limiting my consumption of sweets (I only eat the healthy ones anyway, of course! But still.) to two times per week. I am doing cardio and weight training for 45-60 minutes a day, four or five days per week. This is a change from my habit over the last 18 months of walking outside for 60 minutes, six to seven days per week. Even though I am in a healthy BMI range at the moment, I can increase my willpower around food and exercise. My experiment with walking for exercise taught me that walking is not active enough for me to maintain my ideal weight, although it works for some people. These changes will make a difference in my health in the new year. I will check in on Mondays, my day off, to see how I am doing and make necessary adjustments. Let’s see where we are at the end of the month, the quarter, the summer, and the year. Happy New Year and good luck!

Kerri Winston, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in Atlanta, Georgia's Buckhead area. If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you or your loved ones, please call 404-949-0550 or send email to kerri@acuworks.net.

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