The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity to begin a resolution to live healthier. It might include tobacco cessation, stress reduction, increased fitness or a weight loss goal. Remember to speak with your primary health care provider before significantly changing your daily health and fitness routine, especially if you have chronic health issues.
Secret to success
New Year’s resolutions are easy to make, but not so easy to achieve. The key to success lies in developing a structured health plan, also known as a wellness plan. The health plan will outline:
- Where you’re headed.
- Why you want to get there.
- What challenges you may face along the way.
- How you plan to work through the challenges.
Create a health vision
A health vision is critical to clearly visualize your goals. The first step is to create a health vision, which is a powerful, broad statement that describes who you want to be once you have met those goals. Think about a healthy future and what that might look like to you. Convert those thoughts into a short, clear statement – your health vision.
While there are many ways to write a health vision, one popular format is: “I want ______, so that ________.” Examples include:
- “I want to lose weight, so that I have more energy to enjoy life.”
- “I want to be physically fit, so that I am no longer out of breath.”
- “I want to have better balance between work and my personal life, so that I have more quality time for myself and for my family.”
Identify your motivators
After you compose a health vision that you feel confident you can attain, determine which motivators will drive your desire to make those changes. Some common motivators are:
- Buying clothes in smaller sizes.
- Having energy to play with your children.
- Watching your grandchildren grow up.
- Reducing high blood pressure medication.
Accept challenges and work on strategies
Nearly everyone will face challenges during their health journey that could interfere with realizing established goals. Challenges might include a busy family life, work, school, medical issues or peer pressure to continue bad habits. It’s important to identify potential challenges and envision strategies to address them as part of an effective health plan.