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Set specific goals in 2012

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Posted: Monday, December 26, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:07 am, Tue Sep 25, 2012.

It's almost January, which means diet commercials will overrun the TV and new members will crowd the treadmills at the gym.

That's right, it's time for the dreaded New Year's resolutions.

But by March or so, it seems everyone forgets about those goals, and the gym empties out and sitcoms are padded with the usual car commercials.

So what is it that makes New Year's resolutions fail year after year?

"I think people often times get overzealous in making their New Year's resolutions," said Ericka Bond, social work coordinator at the Pavilion at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen. "We need to make sure our goals are reasonable and measurable."

Some of the more popular resolutions are to quit smoking, cut back on alcohol, get fit, lose weight and save money, according to USA.gov, the federal government's Web portal.

To be successful with goals, Bond suggested choosing a more specific aim instead of something general and unmeasurable. For example, she said, instead just wanting to spend more time with the family, try something, such as sitting down for dinner together a couple of nights a week.

Vicky Cora, clinical dietician at Metroplex, said Bond's advice also can be applied to nutrition goals. Instead of choosing just to eat healthier, she said pick three things to focus on, such as adding more vegetables to meals, choosing whole grains and walking daily.

"Focus on those three things first and once you get there, include additional ones," said Cora.

Another useful strategy to help achieve a goal is to tell others about a resolution for the new year.

When it comes to quitting smoking, Casaundra Collins, a tobacco cessation nurse educator with Army Wellness Center at Fort Hood, said telling other people about the goal can make a big difference.

"A huge factor would be building a support system and actually taking responsibility," she said. "You have to claim it. You have to tell your support system of family, friends and co-workers that you're quitting and enlist their help so when you have the urge they don't offer them to you. Having the urge (to smoke) and access (to cigarettes), that's a recipe for failure."

Collins said clients typically cite three main reasons for failure to quit smoking: boredom, weight gain and stress.

"There are a lot of behavioral changes you have to do as well," she said. "Otherwise your body reverts back to what it's known the longest."

For any resolution to be successful, there is one final requirement: a desire for change. "Your motivating factor is your best offensive and defensive weapon," said Collins.

To track progress in achieving goals, Bond suggested setting a date to follow up and re-evaluate the resolution with a note on the calender or a cellphone reminder.

"For example, a month or a couple of months down the line, check in and see if there's progress," she said. "Is it too broad? Is it too easy? Maybe you need to make the goal a little more challenging? Check in with yourself and keep yourself on track."

Bond said if the goal has been unattainable, use the opportunity to adjust the resolution to a more realistic one.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463.

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