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Examiner
  • Lori Boyajian O’Neill: Keeping your resolutions

  • New Year's resolutions are often made in a spirit of hope and positivity, and sometimes maligned as being a futile exercise. But success can be had. What are the tricks to making and keeping resolutions?

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  • New Year's resolutions are often made in a spirit of hope and positivity, and sometimes maligned as being a futile exercise. But success can be had. What are the tricks to making and keeping resolutions? Should world peace be on the list? How about daily walking?
    Making and keeping resolutions for 2013, what do you know? T or F?
    1. 46 percent percent make New Years resolutions.
    2. 20 percent actually keep resolutions beyond 6 months.
    3. Losing weight is the most common resolution.
    Staying fit and healthy and quit smoking are among the top 10 resolutions. The Number One? Not surprising – losing weight. According to a study conducted at the University of Scranton and published in Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 46 percent of us make resolutions and 8 percent of us are successful in keeping the resolutions six months later.
    Resolutions often involve plans for big behavioral changes. Stop smoking. Lose 50 pounds. Run a marathon. John Norcross, PhD, study author, observed that those who had a specific action plan, not just a grand idea, were 10 times more likely to be successful. He found that if the plan had specific actionable items the likelihood of success increased.
    There are 5 stages to change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. In the precontemplation and contemplation stages resolutions are pondered and seriously considered. The preparation stage involves committing to the change by writing down a plan. The specific plan is implemented and the goals of the resolution are achieved in the action and maintenance stages.
    Daily walking is one of the best resolutions. It improves cardiovascular and mental health and enhances sleep. If walking is part of your staying fit and healthy resolution, you are now ready for the action and maintenance stages of change. Research offers keys to success.
    First, set attainable daily goals and routine. Establish a time, an activity (walking, for example) and be prepared for the weather. Walking is a great exercise and can be performed during most days of the year. Have warm clothes and rain coat at your ready. Any distraction can get you off target. If coats or gloves cant be found we are likely to think, Aw, forget it, Ill walk tomorrow. And tomorrow turns into next week and then next month and we fail. Select a time during the day that is typically available and book it. Guard this time slot with your life! Treat it as you would any appointment and put it on your calendar. It could be as little as a 10 minute walk after work. Five minutes from and to your house is a good start. Every day. Same time. Routine is important. Tell friends and family about your resolution and they may be able to join you. You can help each other be accountable.
    Another characteristic of successful resolution keepers is that they are kind to themselves when they relapse. If you miss a day it is not the end of the world or of your resolution. Those who view a small setback as part of the process and not the end or failure of the entire resolution are more likely to be successful in the long term. Be kind to yourself and expect some setbacks without harsh self-judgment. In the words of Dora from Disney's Nemo, just keep swimming. Or walking. Happy New Year's resolutions!
    Page 2 of 2 - Answers: 1. T; 2. F; 3. T
    Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill can be contacted at lori.boyajian-oneill@hcahealthcare.com.
     
     
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