By Jason Bessey, DO
Jan. 1 is an exciting time of year. The holiday season is winding down, you might finally get to catch up on much-needed sleep, and it’s when many of us start thinking about goals for the coming year. The new year is a chance for a do-over, a chance to forget about past failures and start with a clean slate. For many, including myself, New Year’s resolutions are set with the best intentions, but they don’t always go as planned.
If you’ve ever been in that boat – making a great resolution but then not doing the best job of following through – here are some ideas to help you set realistic goals…and stick to them!
Avoid being too aggressive.
When it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, many of us are way too aggressive – and, therefore, not realistic enough – with our goal-setting. If I haven’t exercised in 6 months it’s probably not the best idea for me to make a resolution to go the gym every single day in 2017 or to train for a springtime marathon. This overly ambitious technique can increase the risk of injury and burnout. Rather than thinking of these life changes as an all-out blitz, try thinking about long-term, steady improvement. Small lifestyle changes can make a surprisingly big difference. If I’m starting a work-out routine from scratch, I could plan on hitting the gym 3 days a week for the first month and then, once I get in that habit, incrementally increase my frequency after that. This type of steady process is going to increase my chances of long-term success.
Remember: it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Along the same lines of setting goals that are more ambitious that we can achieve, sometimes we think about goals in terms of making an absolute resolution. “I will never eat sweets again!” or “I will exercise every single morning, no matter what.” Whew – think about how hard it would be to keep up with either of those resolutions! We are human: we all have off days and we all make mistakes – that is about the only absolute we can all count on. We need to plan for these potential blunders. Perhaps a better strategy would be to say “I will only eat sweets on weekend nights” or “I will make it to the gym 3 days every week in January.” These strategies allow for the occasional indulgence, the inevitable sick day or the unplanned life interruption.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK…
This weekly sponsored column is written by Jason Bessey, DO, a physician at Shawnee Mission Primary Care – Blue Valley. Dr. Bessey and his wife, Lauren Bessey, DO, are passionate about overall wellness and they treat patients of all ages at their south Johnson County office. SMPC-Blue Valley is temporarily located inside Centra Care Shawnee Mission Urgent Care near 135th & Antioch; in March, the practice will move to Shawnee Mission Health’s new Overland Park campus near 159th & 69 Highway. To make an appointment with either Dr. Jason or Dr. Lauren, visit SMPC-Blue Valley’s website or call the office at 913-373-2230.