The end of the year is a popular time for reflection and making plans for the year ahead. Different surveys show different numbers, but the undisputed consensus is that most resolutions fail by February. The reasons for “Quitters’ Day,” which falls on the second Friday in January, vary with every individual. However, some goals are worth keeping.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is also the hardest to keep. Exercising is a challenge because it’s hard to stick with. “It really is a lifestyle change because of the amount of effort you have to put in,” Alyson Pidich, medical director of the Ash Center, said. The best solution to the problem is to just start moving more and progressively increase the the amount of daily physical activity.
The biggest mistake people make when planning health goals for the following year is focusing too much on “how” and not at all on “why,” according to Dr. Daryl Gioffre, a New York City nutritionist and author of “Get Off Your Acid.” Eating better and going to the gym are not sustainable unless you have a powerful motivation to eat better and go to the gym, he noted.
Gioffre suggested the SMART approach when listing resolutions — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. You have to make it really practical and convenient for your lifestyle, and you have to set a deadline. “A goal without a specific time is only a wish,” he added.
The following list, in no particular order, is based on interviews 24/7 Wall St. did with doctors who specialize in disciplines ranging from nutrition to internal medicine and cardiology.
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