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Don’t give up on that New Year’s Resolution

By Summa Published: February 23, 2017

Foursquare says based on historical user data and check-ins most people have given up on their fitness resolutions in favor of a fast food fix by Feb. 2, which they dubbed “Fall Off the Wagon Day.”

Has everyone given up on their healthy lifestyle resolutions in just four weeks?

Statistically, it’s likely. Approximately 80 percent1 of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February and just 8 percentof people actually succeed in achieving their resolutions.

So how do you become part of that 8 percent success statistic?

  1.  Start small – Sometimes we make unrealistic expectations of ourselves. You can’t expect to change a lifetime of habits in one month. For example, if your goal is to start exercising, consider setting an initial goal of getting up and marching in place during commercials, or taking a walk with a friend on the weekend at your favorite park. Make it fun! Ride bikes, go roller skating, go dancing. Fitness can be achieved inside or outside of a gym. Consider making it a goal to exercise 1-2 times a week instead of seven days. Once you meet your goal, you can always modify it as you go.
  2. Perfection is NOT the goal– Minor missteps in reaching a goal happen and are okay! Maybe you swore off fast food, but ended up in the drive through on a particularly stressful and busy day. Don’t completely give up and throw in the towel on your goals over one mistake. Accept the choice you made and learn from it. Think of what you can do next time such as keeping a snack in the car or packing a meal.
  3. Be patient – Reaching your goals is never linear. If progress happened overnight, we’d all be achieving our goals easily and in record time. Sometimes getting started is hard, and other times we reach barriers down the road. Count the small victories such as meeting a goal to eat breakfast on that day.
  4. Make time for you time – Making time to reach your goals is important. It’s hard to find time if you don’t make the time. Treat your resolutions as you would any appointment – such as getting a haircut or visiting your doctor. You rarely reschedule these appointments, so treat these appointments with yourself the same way. Put it in your calendar, at a time that is reasonable for you.

These four points will help you develop skills and implement strategies to help you reach your goals. It’s never easy, but with time, patience and practice, you’ll be on your way to making significant progress. The people who achieve their goals don’t necessarily have more willpower or motivation, they recognize that a lifestyle change is important and make little steps toward achieving that goal.

For help with your weight loss journey, visit www.summahealth.org/weightloss.

Jennifer Duncan, Psy.D.

Jennifer Duncan, Psy.D. has been with Summa Health Bariatric Care Center since 2014. She grew up in Lake County, Ohio. She earned her Psy.D. from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill.; and completed her post-doctoral training at Northwestern University in Chicago. She has a personal story of weight loss and enjoys sharing it with her patients. In her free time, she enjoys cooking healthy meals, spending time with her family, traveling, and completing ultramarathons. 

1 http://www.businessinsider.com/new-years-resolutions-courses-2016-12

2 http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ 

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