Turning the page on the new year is a chance to wipe the slate clean—and to be better versions of ourselves. And when it comes to what we want to improve, goals that fall in the health and wellness arena top all other New Year’s resolution lists.
In fact, three of the top four resolutions in a 2018 YouGov poll were health-related:
- Eat healthier
- Get more exercise
- Focus on selfcare (e.g. get more sleep)
There are three types of people who choose a goal from the health and wellness category as a New Year’s resolution: the resolution newbie, the resolution master and the resolution flunkee.
Let’s see which category you most identify with—and how focusing on the right strategy can help you get healthier in the new year.
Resolution Newbie. Maybe this is your first time making a commitment to your health and wellness. Good for you! Did a recent event like a health scare or loss of a loved one make you see the light? Or perhaps you want to be more active to enjoy activities with your grandchildren or to carry your own bag on the golf course.
Whatever your goals are, taking that first step is a big one so you’ll want to be sure that you’re prepared for the challenge. Particularly when exercising for the first time or returning to an active lifestyle after a long hiatus, it’s important to have the proper information and tools to be successful.
And that means tapping healthcare resources available to you: Clinicians like nutritionists and physical therapists can make sure that your body is prepared to take on new challenges and work with you to a design a program that will help you achieve your goals.
Resolution Master. Perhaps you fall into a different camp. You vowed to get healthy in 2018 and you achieved it! For your 2019 New Year’s resolution, continue the work you’ve begun. After all, focusing on health is a lifelong commitment – not something you do for a while and then revert back to your former habits.
As you prepare to embrace the new year, are there small tweaks you can make to advance your goals? Maybe you’re thinking about training for and running a half marathon, but don’t know where to begin.
A physical therapy evaluation is a great place to start—PTs are trained to assess your movement patterns and identify any limitations or weaknesses. Based on that information, the PT can design a personalized exercise program to help you safely and effectively prepare for a half marathon and more.
Resolution Flunkee. Let’s say your plan for 2019 is to get in better shape and improve your overall health (we support that resolution), but this isn’t your first rodeo. Your 2018 New Year’s resolution was pretty similar but it’s one year later, and you’re in the same place you were on New Year’s Eve 2017.
What stood in your way—was it time? Affordable options? Access to healthy choices and activities? If any of these barriers sound familiar, then along with your resolution, you need an action plan. Without planning ahead, you’ll find yourself staring down the year 2020 with the same goal in mind.
But let’s not focus only on the negative—what went right last year?
Maybe you made sleep a priority, which in turn helped you to make better food choices at breakfast but by afternoon, you found yourself choosing to energize with a soda and candy bar when all you probably needed was an apple and a 15-minute walk.
Think about the previous year—good and bad—and take with you what you need, and leave the rest behind. After all, you can’t plan where you’re going without understanding where you’ve been.
Your New Year’s Resolution & Keys to Your Success
No matter what New Year’s resolution type you might be, let’s look at how to (really) achieve your health and wellness goals in the New Year. While a staggering 80% of the resolutions set at midnight on the last day of the year fizzle out by the second week of February, there are a few ways to make sure that you’ll be committed to your healthy pursuits—and will make them a permanent part of your life.
Make a list of what areas need improvement. Simply vowing to be healthier in 2019 probably won’t cut it—it’s best to be specific about the health and wellness goals you’d like to set for yourself.
There are many important components of a healthy lifestyle— from adding more vegetables to your plate and exercising frequently to sleeping better and drinking more water. But it can be overwhelming to think about tackling all of them at once.
By making a list of your personal health goals as your New Year’s resolution, you can get a better sense of your biggest priorities—and focus your attention in a ranking order.
You don’t have to go it alone. It’s OK to get some help along the way—from healthcare professionals and loved ones. Nutritionists, physical therapists and other healthcare practitioners have the background and training to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
For example, if you aim to be more physically active, a physical therapist can help you set realistic goals and will prescribe a home exercise program to help you safely build strength and endurance.
And your loved ones can pitch in by providing moral support and by helping to create and maintain an environment that helps you achieve your goals.
Stay engaged and follow through on your goals. No one ever said that change is easy. In fact, even the smallest of adjustments—like, going to bed half an hour earlier every night or walking for 15 minutes every day—take discipline and sometimes sacrifice.
By planning in advance and knowing what obstacles you could face, you can make sure that your goals are still met. For example, is there rain in the forecast tomorrow? Plan to walk with a friend at an indoor mall instead of choosing to sit on the couch and wait for better weather.
If you find that you’ve lost your motivation or fallen off track, experts say that you don’t need to wait until next year to resolve to be healthier!
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that Mondays are the best day of the week to celebrate a new beginning—and because they come every week, there are 52 chances a year to press the reset button.
So, don’t get discouraged by the inevitable minor setback—instead, dust yourself off and contact North Boulder Physical Therapy for help with your New Year’s resolution. We have 5 convenient locations across Boulder, Golden, Louisville and Westminster. Our PTs would love to help you achieve your goals.