New Year's resolutions are a bit like babies: They're fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain. Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later, a 2002 study found. It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you've swept up the confetti, but it's not impossible.This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick with it. Here's to your health!
"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results."
"The fact that this is perennially among the most popular resolutions suggests just how difficult it is to commit to. But you can succeed if you don't expect overnight success".
- "You want results yesterday, and desperation mode kicks in," says Pam Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women."Beware of the valley of quickie cures."
- Also, plan for bumps in the road. Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and have a support system in place. "Around week four to six...people become excuse mills,"
- Peeke says. "That's why it's important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times."
"You probably already know that a good night's rest can do wonders for your mood and appearance
- But sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize."
- A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And sleep is crucial for strengthening memories(a process called consolidation).So take a nap-and don't feel guilty about it.
"If you don't think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope."
- A little pressure now and again won't kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress give us an energy boost. But if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of-or worsen-insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease, and more.
- Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, MD, an integrative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City.
“Fear that you've failed too many times to try again? Talk to any ex- smoker, and you'll see that multiple attempts are often the path to success.”
- Try different methods to find out what works. And think of the cash you'll save! (We know you know the enormous health benefit.)
- "It's one of the harder habits to quit," says Merle Myerson, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, in New York City. "But I always tell people to think of how much money they will save."