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Keeping New Year's Resolutions
8 years ago
As the New Year quickly approaches, vows to adopt a healthier lifestyle abound. Health-related New Year’s resolutions top the list of promises American adults make to themselves as the calendar year turns. For lots of women, taking on new habits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may be difficult, especially during the holiday season into the New Year. During the holidays, when entertaining and visiting with extended families are custom, women often take on most of the added workload, which can add up to a lot of stress. Add promises to change old, unhealthy lifestyle habits into the mix and new behaviors may be difficult to uphold. “Sometimes we take on too many changes and create too many goals all at one time,” explains Erica Wright, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who practices in New York City and Fairfield, Conn. “Instead of being able to maintain these new habits, we fail because we become overwhelmed.” But keeping health-related New Year’s resolutions can make a big difference when it comes to long-term health. For women who are overweight or obese, shedding those extra pounds can be life saving. Obesity has been linked to an increase risk of heart disease, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that losing weight through diet and exercise can lower the risk of these and other diseases. “Every year, it’s the same thing,” says Kate Reynolds, a thirty-five year old stay-at-home mom in Connecticut. “I vow to lose weight, but somehow it doesn’t happen.” Reynolds has tried a host of different options from diet programs to fitness classes at a local gym. “I start off strong in January but I get frustrated if I don’t achieve my desired weight loss.” Reynolds isn’t alone. Many women complain that they are unable to keep their resolutions. “We fall into the rhythm of life and into our old patterns,” says Wright, “forgetting some of these major life goals.” So what can we do to keep our healthy resolutions and avoid falling into the same pitfalls? Wright suggests streamlining your resolutions: “Pick one thing versus taking on so many things. For example, quitting smoking is a massive life change that has so many health benefits to it, but choosing to lose weight on top of that is way too much to handle all at once.” Enacting small and feasible changes may make it easier to incorporate into in already busy lifestyle. Focus on one change at a time. For example, if you want to exercise more, try to work that into your routine before taking on any more challenges. Even if you walk briskly to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator or get to the gym once a week, it can make a difference. “Perhaps incorporate other goals throughout the year,” says Wright. “It doesn’t necessarily have to get done by January 1st.” ### Written by Jennifer Wider, M.D. © December 13, 2007 Society for Women's Health Research
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