How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

Lee esto en Español

The start of a new year seems like the right time to set resolutions. We may even make lists of things we’d like to change. That will probably include “eat healthy” and “exercise more,” but can we follow through?

This year, try thinking more about what it means to be healthy to you.

Think in terms of more organization and small changes. These healthy plans can be easier to maintain. And small successes can lead to a healthier, happier you over time.

Don’t focus so much on losing a lot of pounds or bench-pressing enough weight to impress your friends. Make a declaration instead: a declaration that you’ll make better health a priority, not an occasional passing thought.

Try these small changes and healthy living tips that can lead to better health overall.

  1. Schedule your appointments.
    Schedule a “wellness” visit with your doctor. Do it early in the year so you can discuss any health concerns with your doctor and plan for the year. Find out what preventive care you and your family will need and schedule the appointments right off the bat.

    Ask your doctor about any health check-ups or screening tests you need. It’s important to catch diseases early, when they tend to be easier to treat. Check your insurance plan by calling the number on the back of your member ID card.

    Remember: You will get more out of your doctor’s visit if you are honest. Tell your health care provider everything, even things that might be embarrassing. The more your doctor knows about you, the better the care he or she can provide. 

    While you’re at it, get your personal health record (PHR) together. You probably visit different doctors and pharmacies throughout the year. Keep a list of all those doctors and visits. Take it with you to all your appointments. A PHR can make it easier to update each doctor about tests or medications prescribed by another doctor. Learn more about a PHR from the Mayo Clinic. leaving site icon And take a look at the Food and Drug Administration’s simple form   to help manage medication lists.
  2. Eat healthier.
    Eating healthy is a worthy goal but changing your diet drastically can be difficult. You don’t need to give up red meat or become a vegetarian. Try small changes instead. Add a piece of fresh fruit or some vegetables to each meal. If it’s too hard to skip dessert completely, start by taking a smaller piece of the pie and savoring each bite.
  3. Take a walk.
    “Exercise more” doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Even a little extra exercise can provide big benefits. Start small. Take a walk around the block. Then work your way up from there. Exercise can improve both your mood and memory; it can also help you sleep better, another boost for better health.
  4. Get social.
    Join a club. Take a class. Volunteer in your community. A lot can be done online.
  5. Learn something new.
    It’s never too late to learn. Find a hobby. Learn a new skill. Those things are not only fun, they are the exercise that keeps your brain in shape.

Declare this the year of taking care of you. Make your plan for better health now and start getting it done.

Sources: Personal health records and patient portals, leaving site icon The Mayo Clinic, 2020; 20 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Really Keep, leaving site icon WebMD, 2020.

Originally published January 9,2017; Revised 2020-2021