New Year’s resolutions are all too often forgotten about before the calendar flips to February. How can you make a New Year’s Resolution that you can keep? Or perhaps more importantly, one you want to keep?
First, choose something that is important to you. It doesn’t only have to be about your weight. As a gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or gastric band patient, you’ve already made a decision to lose weight and set a plan in motion. You can use this momentum to reach your goal weight, or you could strive for something different, something that will benefit your life in other healthy ways. Health and wellness can go deeper than just weight. Consider also physical health, as well as emotional, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, occupational, and social health and wellness.
Once you’ve established what is important to you, choose a specific issue. If your career is important to you, think of your dream job and how to get it. If taking a trip is important to you, consider where you want to go and how you will pay for it. If your physical fitness is important to you, consider if you want to improve your stamina or learn a new sport. If social wellness is important to you, think about if you want to get involved in your community more, or volunteer to help others, or make new friends.
Finally, establish your resolution as a way of setting a goal that you can look forward to achieving.
We got 5 tips to help you establish and achieve your healthy New Year’s resolution:
Set an Achievable Goal
Setting your goal too high is a sure fire way of letting yourself down. Chances are if you have trouble walking a mile on January 1st, you won’t be running a marathon by December. But, you can work toward it. If you are a smoker, you may not be able to quit smoking cold turkey on January 1st. But, you can set a goal to reduce how much you smoke each day, week, or month until you’ve quit. You may not be able to quit your job and land the career of your dreams. But, you can work toward it by updating your resume, reaching out to contacts in your field to see who’s hiring, setting up interviews, or taking a class to improve your skills or learn a new one. You will probably not get rich in 2017. But, you can set a goal to save money.
Make it Measurable
Setting a goal like “To Get Healthy” is a lofty vision, but hard to measure. What is healthy? Is it achieving a certain BMI? Exercising a set number of days a week? Lowering your cholesterol? It’s hard to know if you’re on track if you can’t measure yourself. Instead, set goals like: I will exercise 5 days a week; I will reduce my BMI by 5 points; I will lower my cholesterol to below 200 mg/dl; I will go on 5 job interviews; I will be able to run 3 miles without stopping; I will set aside $400 each month in a special account; I will bring my lunch to work at least 4 days a week; or I will read ten new books. Keep track of your progress on a calendar, in a planner, or a journal. If your goal seems impossible to achieve, tweak it. If you reach your goal early, set a new one.
Don’t Expect Immediate Results
You will most likely not achieve your goal by the end of January, nor should you expect to. Map out a plan for the year with short term goals for each month set up to help you be on track to meet your end of year goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, break it up. Set a smaller goal to lose 4-5 pounds per month, which will allow you to achieve your larger goal by the end of the year. If your goal is to save money, spend January keeping track of your expenses. Then, make a budget and stick with it. Next, trim expenses where you can. After you’ve cut back, set up weekly or monthly automatic transfers into a special savings account so you can see your savings grow.
Review Your Progress and Expect Some Setbacks
Each month, compare your goal versus your achievements. You may not meet your goal each month. Things happen. You will get sick. You will cheat on your diet. You will get busy. You will not get offered every job. You will have unplanned expenses. The trick is to keep moving forward and not use the setback as an excuse to quit altogether. Learn from your setback. What caused it? How could you have prevented it? Does it change your goal? Revise your plan if necessary, or keep working to achieve the goals you’ve set forth. But, keep at it and review again next month.
Each achievement deserves recognition. It might be as simple as telling people about it- tell your family, or friends, or coworkers. Celebrating does not have to equal treating yourself to a special food or spending money, especially if that contradicts your goal. If your goal is to save money, you could celebrate your first $500 by inviting a friend over to watch your favorite movie or show. Or, if your goal is to lose weight, celebrate your first 10 pound weight loss by painting your toenails. If you landed the job interview you wanted, celebrate with a day at the beach. Reward yourself for a job well done, set your eye on your next achievable goal, then brainstorm your next reward, and work toward it!
These suggestions are offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a Center of Excellence Surgeon specializing in gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s reputation for excellent surgical skills and comfortable bedside manner attract patients from all over Florida, including Naples, Tampa, Sarasota, Port St. Lucie, Orlando, and Jacksonville. His bariatric weight loss patients receive top notch care during their hospital stay at Northwest Medical Center’s Center for Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where he serves as Medical Director, and during their follow up care in his Boca Raton office. Dr. Shillingford and his dedicated staff wish his patients a healthy and happy New Year.