Setting challenging goals is a popular trend in January. About 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and nearly half of them are about losing weight. You certainly want to be among the 8 percent who actually stick to what they’ve set to accomplish, especially if the aim is to be healthier.
“There are four major health issues I see, Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology, says – smoking, poor sleep, bad diet, and sitting too much. “Make resolutions in the form of life changes and long-term habits,” he adds. This means easy and tangible goals. “Don’t say ‘I’ll be less stressed.’ OK, but how?” This is not a solution, just a statement, he adds.
“You have to start with small with objectives that are not hard to achieve and you build on from there,” Dr. Hadjiev says. “You need at least 30 repetitions of the new routine to create and actual habit that becomes your second nature.”
Patients going to see Dr. Daryl Gioffre, Founder of Alkamind and celebrity nutritionist, come in sick, pumped with dietary acids from unhealthy foods they have been eating, he says. “Acidic lifestyle does a lot of damage to your body and causes many chronic health problems.”
About 20 percent of your resolution should be strategy and 80 percent needs to be the “why.” You have to have a big enough reason or purpose in order to stick with your goals and get to the finish line, he adds.
Dr. Gioffre recommends the SMART approach – setting Specific goals that are Measurable so you can track your progress. They also have to be Achievable and attainable; otherwise you will give up too easily. Always set Realistic goals and make sure they are Time-bound. “You have to have a destination; otherwise, your resolution is just a wish,” he adds.
Dr. Catherine Forest, primary care physician at Stanford Health Care calls them “intentions,” not resolutions. A big and common problem she finds among people is the moving intentionally for at least 30 minutes EVERY day, she says.
Accept the fact that you won’t be perfect. “Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn,” Dr. Forest says. “Have the courage to be imperfect and embrace effort and risk taking in others.”