Taking Charge of Your Health in 2018

A New Year….and a New You, right?  Approximately 50% of Americans make annual resolutions.  65% will keep their commitment at least for part of the year; 35% won’t even make it out of the gate.  You can take charge of your health and create a healthier you for 2018.  All it takes is a plan!  The following information will help you create your own personalized action plan to attain optimal well-being!

Many of us have been brought up to believe that our health depends solely on the quality of the healthcare we receive. The reality, however, is that your health is your responsibility. Your overall state of health is closely associated with your lifestyle choices and includes such health essentials such as good nutrition, proper weight control, exercise, stress management, and controlling risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and drug use.

The “secret” of wellness is consistent self‑care in which you adopt habits and behaviors that promote better health and an improved quality of life.  The following 3-Step Action Plan is designed to help you make your desired changes toward personal wellness a reality.  The most vital ingredient to making a lasting change and adopting healthier behaviors is a strong desire to succeed!

Step One:  Getting Started

Examine your current health habits and choose a target behavior you want to change or health goal you want to achieve (weight loss, healthier eating, increased physical activity, stress management, smoking cessation)

  • Set SMART goals (short and long term) for behavior change:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely
  • Put it in writing

Step Two:  Building Motivation for Change

  • List your reasons for being committed to attaining this goal
  • Gather as much information as you feel is helpful
  • Identify barriers, obstacles or temptations that might prevent you in being successful and how you will overcome them
  • Tell others what you are doing.  Seek out people/groups that will encourage you and support your efforts.

Step Three:  Taking Charge!

  • Plan ahead
  • Track your progress….write things down (keep a journal or log)
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you slip; leave room to wiggle
  • Reward yourself for any positive steps you take

If At First You Don’t Succeed….

With any behavioral changes, there are bound to be times when lapses occur.  The key to success is to avoid allowing these relapses to undermine your self-confidence.  Instead,

  • Reassess your techniques and plan of action.  Is it reasonable?
  • Reaffirm your motivation and commitment to your goals.
  • Plan how to deal with future temptations and slip-ups.

Remember to identify and tackle one health goal at a time.  Often, and especially with New Year’s resolutions, people attempt to make sweeping changes to their eating, physical activity and other lifestyle behaviors simultaneously. This may feel overwhelming and lead to people simply abandoning their quest for better health.  Start small, make a plan, and take charge of your health!

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