Monday, December 28, 2015

Here's to a Healthier 2016

With three days remaining in 2015, this week is a great time to reflect on your wellness goals for the upcoming year.   Do you feel healthier today than you did in a year ago?  What did you learn about your own health and wellness in 2015?   In what areas do you feel the need for change?

Statistics indicate that nearly half of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, with losing weight being the most popular.  Unfortunately, only 8% are successful in achieving their resolution (Statistic Brain, 2015).  This begs the question…why aren’t Americans achieving their goals?
According to Psychology Today online, the majority aren’t actually ready to change their habits – particularly bad ones – and this lends to a high failure rate.  Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network says that people tend to set “unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions” (Williams, 2014).  Guilty as charged.  

With the help of Psychology Today and, I’ve compiled some tips to help you reach a healthier lifestyle in 2016.

1.  Make a plan.
Outline the changes you want to make, and then create a plan to accomplish them.  Smaller steps are more feasible than tackling everything at once.  For example, I plan to complete a Tough Mudder event in June with my husband and some friends.  To start challenging myself daily, I’m planning to do 20 push-ups when I wake up and 20 before bed.  Every day that I finish these, I’ll put a little “check” in my planner.  It’s a small, but doable action that I’m hoping will make a difference (even a minor one is helpful at this point!).

2.  Be mindful.
Mindfulness is a general awareness of your physical, emotional and mental state on a consistent basis.  Being mindful helps one live in the present, rather than reflecting constantly over past events or worrying needlessly about the future. 

3.  Celebrate success.
As an example, don’t wait until you’ve lost 20 pounds to acknowledge your progress. 

4.  Create a focus.
This unique suggestion caught my attention.  Psychology Today suggests creating an area of focus, rather than a time-bound, specific goal.  According to Peter Bregman, writing in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, “An area of focus taps into your intrinsic motivation, offers no stimulus or incentive to cheat or take unnecessary risks, leaves every positive possibility and opportunity open, and encourages collaboration while reducing corrosive competition.” In lieu of setting a specific goal, an area of focus may allow you to hone in on an area of your life and develop more creative ways of approaching issues.

5.  Find your motivation.
For me, motivation stems from my children.  I want to keep myself healthy and active as a role model for them, and to foster my own ability to keep up with them!  For you, it might be overcoming a health issue, improving energy levels, boosting confidence, etc. Turn to your source of motivation for inspiration throughout the year ahead.

Happy New Year!

Sara Police, PhD 

1.  10 Tips to Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Health Goals.  Fitday.  Retrieved from:
2.  New Year’s Resolution Statistics.  Statistic Brain Research Institute.  Retrieved from:     
3.  Williams, R.  Why People Can’t Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions.  Psychology Today, 2014.  Retrieved from:


nelson brown said...

Great information. I find I have to be reminded of what it takes to continue to be successful. I completed my bachelor's degree in Health & Wellness this month as well as published my first children's motivational book entitled, "I Can."

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