We’ve all been there. It’s a new year and you’re ready for a new, healthier you! You’ve signed up for a full-year gym membership and have your workout playlist ready to rock. Before long, a month goes by and those well-planned healthy New Year’s resolutions dwindle into an afterthought.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. Family medicine physician Kelly Snyder, M.D., and orthopaedic surgeon Scott Arthur, M.D., share advice for avoiding common pitfalls and setting your healthy New Year’s resolutions up for success.
1: Talk to your doctor.
It sounds obvious enough, but Snyder said too many people embark on their health journey without consulting a healthcare provider.
“I don’t recall patients ever mentioning their healthy New Year’s resolutions to me—they never ask how they can get healthier when the new year rolls around,” Snyder said. “It’s one of the best places to start though. As doctors we can coach patients a little bit more and share what diet and exercise programs they should try based on what we know about their health. As physicians, it’s our job to help you on your health journey but we have to be a part of that journey to give you a good roadmap on the road to success.”
Arthur said it’s especially important advice for patients with serious health conditions. “If you have heart disease or other medical issues that could potentially put you at risk for complications, it’s definitely good to see your internist before starting a workout routine,” said Arthur.
2: Be specific.
The second key is to be as detailed as possible when crafting your healthy New Year’s resolutions. According to Snyder, the more specific the goal the better.
“Around 90 percent of people never achieve their New Year’s resolutions, mainly because they make them too big or too vague,” said Snyder. “So instead of saying you’re going to exercise more, say that you’re going to go to the gym three times a week. Or, instead of saying you want to be healthier, say you’re going to add a vegetable option at every meal.”
3: Set a target.
Another way to stay on the road to success is to set up a plan. Snyder said outlining goals will help you reach those mini-milestones for your healthy New Year’s resolutions.
“Make weekly or monthly goals and write them on your calendar or add them to your phone app,” said Snyder. “By doing this, you will be able to see where you are, where you want to be and when. You want to have smaller, achieveable short-term goals so that taste of success can help push you to the next step,” said Snyder.
According to Arthur, the same can be said for exercise. “It’s nice to have a target,” he said. “Whether you’re working your way up to a 5k or a marathon, having something that you are working towards keeps you motivated and keeps you striving to do better,” said Arthur.
4: Have a support system in place.
Doing anything alone is typically not as enjoyable, so why not double the fun and recruit your spouse or a group of friends in your journey to health? Snyder said having a partner in the trenches is a great way to stay motivated and accountable to your healthy New Year’s resolutions.
“Evidence shows that with anything we do, we are going to be more successful if we have a support system,” said Snyder. “If you want to start an exercise program, get your friends involved. There are even apps where you can log your progress and your friends can keep up with you and encourage you along the way.”
Arthur agrees. “When it’s cold outside and you don’t want to get out of bed, but you know that there is someone going through the same thing and holding you accountable, that’s a good thing,” said Arthur. “Having a support system with others trying to accomplish the same thing is always helpful.”
5: Avoid common pitfalls.
One common pitfall that Snyder says everyone should be mindful of is making sure, whatever the resolution, that it’s your goal and not someone else’s.
“Whether you want to lose weight or be healthier, you need to focus on what’s important to you and not what’s most important to the people around you,” said Snyder. “Owning the resolution will keep you feeling motivated to work on.”
Another avoidable mistake is trying to do too much, too fast. “Starting out the gate with really aggressive goals and trying to accomplish too much at one time is unsustainable in the long term,” said Arthur. “I think being realistic and having a good plan in place will help you stick to your New Year’s resolution and ultimately help you get to a better place.”
About the Doctors:
Kelly Snyder, M.D., is board-certified in family medicine and is a physician with Williamson Medical Group. Her office can be reached by calling (615) 794-8412.
Scott Arthur, M.D., is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee and specializes in sports medicine, as well as joint replacement and prevention. His office can be reached by calling (615) 791-2630.Share this Article