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Reframe New Year's Resolutions in 2018

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
January 8, 2018
YMCA Diabetes Prevention Class

Making resolutions at the beginning of the new year has become a tradition for millions of Americans. But, according to a 2014 YMCA survey, less than a quarter of those who made resolutions actually followed through with them and completed them. Many tried, but 71 percent of people stated that they fell short of their goals while 40 percent confessed that they gave up within the first few months of the new year. 

This year, the Y is encouraging community members to keep their resolutions and give them a boost by creating smaller, more manageable goals that can lead to a successful, larger goal. This will make them not so intimidating, thus you’ll be more likely to follow through with them.

Goals should be narrowly tailored and specific. “‘I want to lose weight’ is too broad of a goal,” according to Daphne Bascom, MD, PhD, Medical Director of the Y. “Resolve to incorporate fruits and vegetables into at least two meals a day. If you’re eating out three times a week, make a goal to only eat out two times a week.”

Make your goals sound more positive than negative. For example, instead of saying “I want to limit my screen time in 2018”, say “I want to set aside more time for my family”. 

“Try not to think about what you’re missing, but rather what you’re gaining. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable,” says Dr. Bascom.

And, remember that mistakes will happen. Setbacks will happen. “Nobody got their bad habits over the course of a week, so you’re not going to change them in a week either,” explains Paula Flynn, Senior Healthy Living Director for the Y. Change is a process, and bad days are a part of that process.

Here are four tips that the Y recommends that will help 2018 New Year’s resolutions stick.

  1. Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water. 
  2. Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month resolution. Focus on that one change for the month, and add another (small) change when the new month rolls around. 
  3. Choose a health center that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a health center that keeps you motivated. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms, fitness studios or community health centers to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.
  4. Talk to a Friend. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2018 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points.

These small changes can have big impacts on your health and wellbeing. More importantly, they help to prepare you to be healthy for life.