Unlock Success: Expert Tips for New Year’s Health Resolutions

With the arrival of the New Year comes new opportunities for rejuvenating our health and wellness journeys.

Reflecting on this, Dr. Amanda Velazquez, director of obesity medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health in California, notes the wonderful aspect of the New Year as a time for reflection and aspiration.

While ambitious New Year’s resolutions, particularly those centered around health and weight loss, are a common tradition, research indicates their challenges in long-term maintenance.

As we approach the New Year, here are five expert tips to ensure success in your health and wellness resolutions for 2024.

Set achievable goals based on need, not tradition

Setting unrealized goals can be disheartening and discouraging,” noted Velazquez.

Begin with modest steps and progressively advance. For instance, if initiating an exercise routine, start with a daily 30-minute walk several times a week. Gradually increase until meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guideline of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

Look at your health holistically

Many times, we focus narrowly on specific data points, especially those highly valued in societies,” Velazquez remarked. However, health extends beyond a numerical representation on the scale.

Has your exercise tolerance increased? Do you sense greater energy levels throughout the day? Ultimately, what holds the utmost significance is your comprehensive well-being.

Giving yourself permission to say no is important

There are instances when we may feel compelled to accommodate others, be it social invitations or family meals. It’s perfectly acceptable to decline foods or activities that don’t align with your objectives.

Feel free to propose alternative healthy activities that are in harmony with your goals.

Have a support system

“It can be challenging when life throws curveballs that you have to navigate,” noted Velazquez. “I have my patients understand that we are a team.”

Seek out someone who can hold you accountable in your pursuit of goals. According to the National Institutes of Health, leveraging social relationships can promote healthier habits.

Engaging with a friend, family member, significant other, or colleague to share challenges can be motivating and provide the support needed to stay on track.

Maintain a Positive Mindset

Dwelling on negatives can diminish your motivation. “Human beings tend to see things in black or white,” observes Velazquez.

It’s common for individuals to abandon their goals after a few setbacks. Instead, focus on moving forward and making healthier choices in the future. Have faith in your abilities and consistently reinforce the positive impact your lifestyle changes will have on your health.

Edward King, M.D., is a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.

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