Many people make New Year's resolutions to improve their health, whether it is to quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier foods, or add more physical activity to their daily routines. The resolutions are easy to make; the hard part is staying committed to those decisions not only during January but throughout the year. Here are a couple of suggestions from the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center to stay on track with your goals.
• Make your resolution specific, with a tangible, achievable outcome. If you set a goal that is vague, such as to become a healthier person, it is harder to plan out the steps you need to meet that goal.
• Avoid resolutions that call for significant lifestyle changes. Instead, set small, obtainable goals and work towards them one step at a time. For example, instead of making a commitment to never again eat desserts, make a commitment to replace desserts with fresh fruit or yogurt as often as possible.
• Avoid making multiple resolutions. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don't get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
• Set aside ample time for yourself to achieve your goals. For instance, if you want to exercise more, plot out time in your weekly schedule for runs and time at the gym.
• Share your goals with friends and family. Having someone to share your challenges with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.
• Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal. Don't give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy.
• Write down your goals. People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
• Last but not least, use your local health department as a resource. The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center web site includes numerous healthy recipes, exercise videos, and nutrition tips. Visit the "Healthy Eating Active Living" web page at: health.lakecountyil.gov.