Healthy New Year’s Resolutions in 2018


Like millions of other Americans, you may be busy making resolutions on how you can be healthier in 2018. Specifically, adults want to lose weight, exercise more often, get enough sleep, and drink more water.

While everyone could stand to improve their health, these resolutions often fall by the wayside before the calendar flips from January to February because people set unrealistic goals for themselves. In this blog, we will look at simple ways you can make your resolutions more attainable.

Determine Your Motivation

Losing weight is a perfectly acceptable goal, but just including it on a list of things you want to achieve in 2018 isn’t enough. You need to examine your motivation as well. If you’re diabetic, it could be to help lower your blood sugar readings. If you’re only slightly overweight, perhaps you just want your clothes to fit better. All reasons are valid if you’re not just trying to please someone else. That might help you lose weight for now, but it won’t help to keep you motivated in the long run.

Weight loss is just one common example. No matter what health outcome you want to achieve, knowing why and what it would mean for you once you do achieve it are both very important.

Any Big Change Requires Planning

Let’s say that you decided to start working out every day come January 1st. While admirable, the goal is much too vague. Will you join a gym? Walk around the neighborhood every night? Is it more important to exercise for weight loss or strength training? You should know the answers to these questions before you even include working out on your list of New Year’s resolutions.

It’s helpful to think of planning to make a change the same way you would consider a roadmap. You would never drive to another state without first looking up how to get there. By the same token, you probably wouldn’t do all the driving in a single day. You would plan how far to drive each day, what route to take, and where you would eat and sleep. While the details may differ, the idea remains the same for any health change you want to make in the new year.

Skip the Fads

If you’re very overweight or out-of-shape, you might want to jump on the latest fad diet bandwagon that claims you can lose 10 times the weight you would by watching your diet and exercising. As with anything else you invest in, you need to take a cautious approach. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. When you don’t know where to start with overhauling your diet, schedule an appointment with a dietician at UPMC Western Maryland instead. Your weight loss will be healthy and lasting.

Gather Resources if You Plan to Quit Smoking

It gets discouraging when you add “quit smoking” to your list of resolutions every year only to not make it past January 2nd as a non-smoker. The longer you have smoked, the greater your addiction to nicotine and the harder it is to quit. UPMC Western Maryland is here for you and wants to see you succeed. Please don’t hesitate to ask your UPMC Western Maryland primary care provider for smoking cessation resources that could include prescription medication, referral to a support group, telephone counseling, and more.

We are here to support you in your efforts to kick the habit. Research gives out the fact that people with support are significantly more successful in snuffing out smoking for good than those who go it alone.

Resolve to Eat Breakfast and Fill Up on Veggies

By now you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but you just have so little time in the morning to sit down to eat it. We encourage you to get up a few minutes earlier if necessary so your body can receive the nourishment it needs to sustain energy throughout the day. It’s especially important to get enough protein because it helps you feel fuller longer. This allows you to avoid filling up on unhealthy foods during the day because your stomach won’t stop growling.

If you’re trying to lose weight, try filling half your plate with vegetables. They contain fiber, nutrients, and water. Even though vegetables allow you to feel full, they tend to contain very few calories.

Get Social

You know that smoking, overeating, and drinking too much are bad for your health, but did you know that social isolation is as well? Don’t get so busy that you forget to connect with family and friends who care about you. While social media and the various technologies all help you stay in touch, there’s nothing like visiting people in person to improve your physical and mental health.

Work on One Thing at a Time

We hope these suggestions have been helpful to you, but want to caution you not to tackle all of them at once. You will quickly burn out and give up on all your resolutions. Instead, choose the one thing most important to you and work on it until you see noticeable improvement. You can then consider incorporating the second-most important thing on your list of resolutions.

Happy New Year from UPMC Western Maryland!

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