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Success Strategies For New Year’s Resolutions

By: Ann Marie Coppen

Anne Marie Coppen

PhD, FNP, Nurse Practitioner

For a personal response to your health question, Ask Ann Marie at askannmarie@lindora.com. Selected questions will be featured in future columns.


“Transform your New Year’s resolutions into reality. Small, consistent simple changes make a big difference.”

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and become healthier? If so, how’s it going so far?

As we all know, keeping the commitments we make to ourselves can be easier said than done, and it often becomes more challenging as our initial enthusiasm starts to wane with each passing mile.

Here are a few proven success strategies that can help you stay focused and motivated as you transform your resolution into reality.

Declare a specific, realistic goal.

Herman Frankel, M.D., a leader in the field of mental training, says a goal “needs to be big enough to be significant, small enough to be achievable, and safe enough to be tolerable.” I think of goals as dreams with deadlines. The more specific your goal, the more likely you’ll be to achieve it.

“I’d like to lose weight and feel healthier” may be a desire, but it’s not a goal.

“I will lose 35 pounds by my birthday, and I will accomplish this goal by taking the following steps” is specific and measurable.

Then, list the steps you’re willing to take—and the changes you’re willing to make—to achieve your goal. This plan of action will be your roadmap to results.

Success Strategies You Can Use Today to Reach Your Goal!

Here are some practical, proven “success strategies” you can begin incorporating into your life today!

  • Watch your portion sizes
  • Be sure to eat breakfast and 5 or 6 smaller-type meals throughout the day instead of 1 huge meal
  • Monitor your eating habits and pay attention to when, where and why you feel inclined to overeat
  • Watch your caloric intake. If you haven’t monitored this in the past, now is a great time to start
  • Read food labels. Be aware of hidden calories
  • Drink plenty of water—80 ounces a day or more
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Be sure to get 25-30 grams of fiber per day
  • Cut back on foods that are high in sugar, starch, sodium and saturated fat

You can make a positive impact on your weight—and your health—through exercise and following a healthy eating plan. It’s possible to move through this New Year feeling strong, confident and healthier than ever!

Focus on what motivates you and write it down.

One reason we fall short of our goals is that we lose sight of why our goal was important to us in the first place. Focus on the benefits of achieving your goal by listing your top five reasons for wanting to lose weight, such as:

“I want to look great at my class reunion.”

“I want to get my one year medical card.”

“I want to keep up with my grandkids.”

“I want to be a role model for my kids.”

“I want to completely get off my blood pressure medicine.”

Write these on notecards and put them wherever you’re likely to see them.  Keep them handy and read them 4 or 5 times throughout the day.  Why?  They will trigger a picture in your mind of what it feels like to achieve your goals and this helps you stay motivated and make good choices.

Monitor your level of activity.

An inexpensive pedometer that you clip on your belt can be one of your most powerful allies in achieving a healthy weight. It provides objective, valuable feedback regarding how active you are. 10,000 steps a day is considered a minimum for good health. Wear it the first day and don’t do anything different in your daily routine and you will be shocked at how few steps you are taking during the course of your day.  Begin to park a little further out at the truck stops and walk around the stop or your truck for a short 10-minute walk two or three times a day.  Watch the pounds begin to fall off and your energy level go up and up.  You will feel great.

Focus on the steps and the miles will take care of themselves. If you think about it, that strategy applies in many areas of life. Rather than being overwhelmed by the number of pounds you want to lose, focus instead on those small but significant decisions that will move you closer to your goal.

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