The annual ritual of making a New Year’s resolution is an opportunity to make a healthy lifestyle change. New Year’s is historically a time when we reflect on our past and look forward to the coming year. We reflect on the changes we want or need to make and resolve to follow through with enthusiasm and motivation.
Where to Start
The first step is to recognize exactly what needs improvement in the various areas of your health and well-being. A practical starting point may be to work with the dimensions of well-being: physical, financial, emotional, social and professional.
If you are planning to start a walking routine, you may want to ask a co-worker to walk along for the social support. This way you are impacting two areas: physical (walking) and emotional (social support), which gives you a greater chance of successful implementation.
A Small, Measureable Plan
According to recent studies of New Year’s Resolutions, there are some uplifting predictions that may motivate you to consider selecting a few areas of well-being and creating a measurable action plan for the New Year.
- Make a formal resolution. Whatever you hope to change this year – to tame the bulge, get in shape, enjoy life more, get out of debt, quit drinking or smoking – you are more likely to make these improvements if you envision the change you want to make than someone who has not done so.
- Share your resolution – you are more likely to stick with it. Confide your New Year’s goals with someone you care about – a family member, friend, or work colleague. Support one another and keep one other accountable.
- Make it through January. If you make it through January with your resolution intact, you have a good chance of lasting much longer with your resolve.
- Get a virtual partner! With helpful digital tools and mobile apps, you can significantly boost your odds of success. The UVM Medical Center’s “Resolution Generator” is a great way to get started!
Create an action plan to support your readiness and confidence for the change you desire. Identify the specifics of your activities, noting days and times, and be clear about how you will measure your progress. Be sure to take small steps that are manageable, which is the best way to build your confidence and make progress toward your goal.
Evelyn Sikorski is the manager of Employee and Family Assistance Program & Health Management at the UVM Medical Center.