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A Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Your Resolutions

Most of us start the year with the best intentions, but as time passes, sticking to those New Year’s resolutions gets tougher and tougher. Here are three common resolutions and how you can make them stick … for good.

Quit Smoking

  1. Start by writing down your reasons for quitting. Keep this list handy and revisit it often.

  2.  Get the help of your doctor. If you’ve tried to quit before and haven’t been successful, your doctor can help. You may find that a medication helps you make the transition.

  3. Read up on what might happen. If you know other people have struggled with symptoms you might be experiencing—like weight gain or the urge to smoke—you won’t be caught off guard if this happens to you. Knowing others have felt the same way you do right now and have gone on to quit can be motivating.

  4. Make a plan. The American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine & Tobacco QuitLine at 800-LUNGUSA (586-4872) has experts who can cover your quit options and help you figure out what might work best for you.

Lose Weight

  1. Set goals that are specific, realistic, and forgiving. A good example might be committing to exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This is specific (not a vague “exercise regularly”), realistic, and forgiving (as opposed to the goal of working out every single day).

  2. Reward yourself along the way. Just don’t choose food as a reward! Try something like an afternoon off from work or a new outfit for the gym.

  3. Change the cues that cause you to eat unplanned food. Perhaps you always nibble on doughnuts when you’re in the break room at work, or eat more than you intend when you’re watching TV. Break those patterns. Don’t linger in the break room, or only watch TV after you’re finished eating.

  4. Monitor your weight with a graph. How often you weigh yourself is up to you, but keeping track is important in making sure you’re moving in the right direction. While a list of logged numbers can work, having a graph can really help you see the trend over time.

Start a Relaxation Practice

  1. Pick an activity and how often you’ll do it. Practices like yoga and meditation can improve both your physical and mental health. Start by choosing an ideal time of day and a goal for the number of days a week you’ll practice.

  2. Find the right spot. For meditation, look for a place that is quiet and distraction-free. For yoga, if you’re just starting out, it can be smart to learn the basics from an experienced instructor. You can find group yoga classes all over, from community centers to gyms. Look for a teacher who takes your needs and abilities into consideration.

  3. Seek out resources. In addition to in-person classes, there are plenty of instructional videos, books, websites, and apps that can help you find effective ways to de-stress.

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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