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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Ibelema, MD

The Doctor’s Guide to Starting the Year Right

Six Steps to Keeping your New Year’s Resolution

By Danielle Ibelema, M.D.

The start of a new year marks a time for a potential fresh start. The magic of the New Year leaves us feeling as though anything is possible. Visions of lifestyle changes, healthier bodies, and plumper bank accounts seem fully within grasp as we diligently set resolutions for the year. We tend to start off with great intentions; yet eighty to ninety percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. Here are some doctor-recommended tips that you can use to be successful with your resolution this year.

  1. Take time to reflect: With 2018 already in the rear-view mirror, take a moment to reflect on the year. Did you meet your goals for that year? If not, reflect on what got in the way. If we don’t reflect on our mistakes, we often repeat them. However, if we reflect on those mistakes, we can learn from them and grow in some capacity. Reflect on the experiences of 2018 and try to take away specific lessons you can use to make 2019 better.

  2. Goal setting: Once you settle on a New Year’s resolution, it’s important to set small incremental goals for yourself. If you want to lose 10 pounds, perhaps you may set a shorter term goal of losing a pound every two weeks. Goal setting can give you a sense of direction and can serve as a blueprint that can keep you on track. Success with small goals will motivate you to sustain the effort; focusing on the larger goal may make you doubt yourself.

  3. Ask for help: If you are struggling with a certain area, seek the assistance of someone who excels in that task or subject. If you are horrible at making budgets, ask a frugal friend for help. This allows you to learn a process that is likely working well for your friend. It also creates some accountability; next time your friend sees you with that extra shopping bag you may have some explaining to do.

  4. Let go of fear: Be like Nike and just do it. So often we get in our own way by allowing our fear of uncertainty or fear of rejection to keep us stagnant. As a doctor I treat many who tend to sabotage their success in unhealthy ways. Give yourself permission to try something new, then embrace the vulnerability that follows.

  5. Make it fun: Your resolution does not have to make you unhappy. If your resolution makes you miserable there’s a good chance you won’t stick to it. If you hate running, do not promise yourself that you will train for a marathon. Instead you might want to consider signing up for a dance class or joining a neighborhood sports league. If your resolution is tied to something you see as pleasant or desirable you are more likely to succeed with it.



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