by LAWRENCE SCHLITT, M.D.; Scripps Clinic, Del Mar

How to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

Six Keys to Stay Committed


Think the odds are against you when it comes to New Year’s resolutions? Try implementing a few smart strategies so you can achieve your goals and have a healthy 2018, whether your resolution is losing weight, reducing stress, increasing your exercise, or getting more sleep.

Six keys to success

1. Choose one or two goals
While ambition is laudable, making too many resolutions can set you up for failure. Pick a realistic goal and be specific. If your goal is to get in shape, what does that look like for you? Do you want to be able to run three miles, get to the gym three days a week, or decrease your body fat percentage?

2. Write it down
Write each goal or resolution down and post them in a visible spot – next to the computer, on the fridge or even on a mirror. Writing your resolution down helps you clarify what you want to achieve and helps motivate you to take action. If your goal is to increase your exercise, write down a reasonable workout plan for the week ahead. If you want to reduce stress, plot out 15 minutes a day when you practice meditation.

3. Take small steps
Plan what you would like to accomplish over a manageable period of time, such as three months, and take small steps daily toward that goal. When changes are too drastic, they can be overwhelming, while small lifestyle changes are easier to achieve and maintain. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, try throwing out one processed food every week, such as chips or cookies, and replacing it with a fruit or vegetable.

4. Share your resolutions
Sharing your resolutions with people you trust helps keep you accountable and can give you an added push to stick to your plans. Tell your family, friends, or coworkers about your goals so they can support you.

5. Schedule time
Make your new goals a priority and schedule them into your calendar. Form good habits that get you closer to your goal by planning ahead. Eventually, your workouts, healthy cooking, or meditation will become second nature, and you will feel uncomfortable if you don’t do it.

6. Expect setbacks
Slip-ups inevitably occur, but don’t let mishaps and setbacks cause you to give up for the rest of the year. If you didn’t get to the gym one day, plan to go the next day, or substitute a few minutes of stretching or a quick walk. Developing the resilience to get back on track right away will keep you positive, and any effort toward your goal is a step forward.

With these simple strategies and some patience, 2018 can be the year you succeed in achieving your goals. Remember to keep it positive and enjoy your accomplishments.