When December rolls around, amid the hustle and bustle, we also tend to reflect on the end of the year and the new beginning that lies ahead. In setting goals for the new year, thoughts often drift to health and well-being. At Arkansas Heart Hospital, we want to provide you with tools for success through our Keep the Beat program, heart healthy recipes and advice for reaching your goals. StrongHearts Rehabilitation Director Christine Alongi, MS, MBA, RDN, LD, offers these new year health resolutions when looking to make changes.
Your New Year Health Resolutions:
Resolution #1: Better Habits
Habits, both good and bad, are formed early in life. So changing a habit takes time, effort and focus. Brushing your teeth before bed is a habit – a routine that was formed in the early years that is a “good” habit. When changing a habit, the stimulus and result remain the same, but the action in the middle is where the modification occurs. For example, if a person is stressed at work, they may smoke a cigarette to feel more relaxed. They are still going to get stressed at work, so in order to quit smoking cigarettes, they must swap out their stress-relieving habit for another behavior – such as meditation, taking a walk or deep breathing – and then achieve the same result of feeling more relaxed. We must repeat a new action over and over until a habit is developed. Habits are automatic, so in order to assimilate them in our lifestyle, they must be repetitive.
Resolution #2: Set Short-Term Goals
I recommend setting short goals with a long-term effect. Stay away from any “quick fix,” such as a crash diet to lose your first 10 pounds and then resuming a more reasonable diet pattern to maintain the weight loss. Instead, slowly adopt a healthier diet plan that will automatically be maintained.
Resolution #3: Be Prepared for Everything
There must be a plan in place for when the bumps in the road occur along the journey. Also, it’s important to have grace with yourself and remember that each day is a new start. You must control your thoughts!
Resolution #4: Practice Self-Control
Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now. It’s easy to give into temptation, but real change happens when you’re able to resist it. In order to reach your goals, you must become comfortable with being uncomfortable.