Swap out Resolutions for Goals

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • What is it about the word resolution that sets us up for failure?  Do we aim too high?  Do we commit yearly out of the obligatory January 1st date that implores us to do better this time around?  Do we feel compelled to establish resolutions just because everyone else does?  Are we so fed up with our failures in past years that we need to come up again with some measure of an action plan that will miraculously spur us into a committed and determined effort to change: be better- look better – feel better, this time?  Taking a page from Gold’s Gym this year, whose motto is "commit to the un-resolution,” I say let’s just set some goals that we can manage.

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    Since I write shareposts on nutrition, fitness, weight and lifestyle, not surprisingly, the goals I suggest this month will focus on those areas of life.  I might also add an observation I have made over the better part of three decades: When you are organized with your lifestyle habits, that discipline often spills over into other areas of your life.  Most of the patients and clients I have worked with over the years, who set and achieve goals and milestones in the lifestyle sector, tell me that they notice an improvement, secondarily, in their professional efforts, family and personal relationships, self-esteem improves, and their overall outlook on life becomes more positive. 


    There’s nothing like quitting smoking, finally achieving a fitness level that allows you to feel younger and more energetic, losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off, or improving your health profile, that inspires happiness.  So I am hoping that this year you will avoid the “r word” as in resolution, and instead set some goals that you can manage in the New Year.



    First up, some recommendations to help you set goals


    • Go see your doctor and get a full physical.  Find out from a medical professional’s perspective what health parameters need improvement.  Maybe it’s your weight, or your blood pressure, or your cholesterol, or your strong risk for certain lifestyle-related diseases, or several of these.  Maybe the pain in your knees will improve if you set a goal to lose a certain amount of weight and begin an exercise program.  Get real and face facts.  It’s the only way to set meaningful goals.


    • If you have the finances, engage the services of a personal trainer and/or nutritionist or dietician, even for one visit.  Let them know that is all you can afford.  If the price is too steep, buddy up with someone or with a group so you can share that single visit.  It will help if you have similar issues and goals.  Just one visit that provides a beginning assessment, and some basic education to help you formulate a plan with a first milestone, is invaluable to helping you set and achieve your goals.  If you need a “plan B,” then there are online support groups or affordable “small donation” groups (Overeaters Anonymous) that you can access for initial help or even long-term support.  Or consider gathering some like-minded buddies or family members who also want “significant change” in their weight and health status, and band together, establishing some goals and a mechanism to support each other.


  • Next up: Some first goals which are universal for any lifestyle change

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    Amy Hendel is a Physician Assistant and Health Coach with over 20 years of experience.  Noted author, journalist and lifestyle expert, she brings extensive expertise to her monthly shareposts.  Her most recent book, The 4 Habits of Healthy Families is available for purchase online, and you can watch her in action on her shows Food Rescue and What's for Lunch?  Sign up for her daily health tweets or catch her daily news report at www.healthgal.com.

Published On: January 04, 2014