Writing Healthy New Year's Resolutions
Writing New Year's resolutions is a time-honored American tradition. For
many of us, these resolutions focus on what we want to improve in our health-related
behaviors. We tend to focus on things we want to lose (e.g.generally
weight); behaviors we want to give up or cut down on (e.g. watching TV, drinking
alcohol); or behaviors we need to stop (e.g. smoking). While many of us do
say we want to start or increase our exercise time, we often view that as
a punishment instead of as a gift. For many of us, our resolve to follow our
New Year's Resolutions lasts slightly longer than it takes to write them.
This year let's try a different approach. Try writing 10 healthy resolutions
that you can and will achieve; write resolutions that are not only specific
and achievable, but which you can view as GIFTS to yourself and to your family.
Too often women fail to focus on their own health because they feel a need
to focus on their family members first. The best gift we can give to our loved
ones is to take care of ourselves.
I suggest starting the process with a positive and healthy attitude. Make
as many of the resolutions "Thou shalt" commitments, as opposed to "Thou shalt
nots." The first priorities are to focus on overcoming dangerous behaviors.
If you smoke, drink too much alcohol, or practice reckless sexual behaviors
(those that increase your risk of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted
diseases), just stop. If you need help, see your physician or a trained psychologist.
Enlist the support of your friends and family members.
If you need to lose weight, you know it and your body knows it. This
year, try something new and leave off the "I will lose 15 pounds" resolution.
Instead, try positive and specific resolutions that will enable you to achieve
the desired weight loss without focusing on the "losing" concept. For example,
try "I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day" or "I will start
each day with a healthy breakfast sitting down." No! Coffee and a doughnut
is not a healthy breakfast. You don't need to have a four-course meal, but
ideally you should have 4 food groups represented, and protein should be one
Increasing water consumption often helps dieters and most Americans are not
getting enough water daily. Do you really need 8 glasses per day? At least.
To calculate exactly how much you should be drinking, divide your weight in
pounds by 2. This is how many ounces per day you need before exercising. With
exercise, add an additional 8 ounces per 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.
Go through each resolution and write a paragraph about it. Add something
about sleep. Add something about fun!
This article comes with my best wishes to
all for a happy and healthy New Year!
Created: 1/3/2005  - Donnica Moore, M.D.