Making New Year Resolutions That Work

January 2, 2015 Updated: January 1, 2015

The season’s celebrations are a flurry of fun and festivity, but all of the partying, including the associated food choices and sweets, distract us from our normal health routines and thwart even the best of intentions.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to recover once the holidays are over, even if you did not overeat or overindulge and did your best to stay on track. It may feel like there is a lot of catching up to do.

It is at this time that every new year inevitably brings on a barrage of resolutions—to quit smoking, lose weight, start a regular exercise program, join a gym, lower cholesterol level, reduce anxiety, and so on.

Most New Year resolutions are health-related, as they come off the heels of the most joyous, yet stressful time of the year. They represent our wish to return to balance and bring more well-being into our lives.

Resolutions are a great way to stay committed, but if you attempt something that is too big, it could be daunting and hard to follow through on.

Here are some tips to help you make achievable health and fitness goals and stay committed to them throughout the new year:

1. Start with small goals, focusing on snapshots of where you want to be in one week or one month. Visualize yourself along every step.

2. After you reach a goal, aim a little further. For example, after you run your first mile, try adding a few more blocks.

3. Recruit family and friends who could benefit from healthier choices as well.

4. Instead of dieting, make lifestyle changes that impact your overall health and well-being.

5. Fuel the soul as well as the body with encouragement. For example, get a massage, facial, pedicure, or manicure to reward yourself and relax. Stress reduction is crucial to health and well-being.

6. Don’t berate yourself if you falter. Just pick yourself up and continue to work toward your goal.

7. Take some time to catch your breath and savor the memories. And most importantly, be grateful for the little things in life.

Remember, you have the power to create better habits for yourself. As American author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

Leslie Mary Olsen is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach, fitness coaching specialist, and licensed massage therapist. She holds a master’s degree in health policy and has over 30 years of experience in the health and wellness field.