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Seven tips for the "resolutionary"

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. John Leitnaker
  • Air Force Materiel Command Surgeon General's Office
The new year often brings a wave of "resolutionaries." You know, all those folks who have a new plan to change their lives. They are out in force, filling the gyms, losing weight, quitting smoking and telling anyone who will listen about their latest behavioral change.

Many are trying to fix everything all at once.

The fact is, it is a great time to make a change, whether losing weight or spending more time enjoying your children; getting spending under control or finding that quiet time for reflection.

People are frequently more successful at making these changes during this time of year. They subsequently reap rewards through improved health, appearance and relationships.

However, as we all know, there are many others who will fail in their resolutions.

We know the gym is crowded now, but in a few months there won't be as much trouble finding a parking space. The big talker at work won't be talking about the newest diet anymore. How can you be one of the successful resolutionaries?

Here are seven quick tips to help you be successful:

1) Identify one thing you want to improve. If you begin with one thing and have success, you are likely to try other changes. If you take on a few changes at once, you are more likely to quit them all. If you want help deciding where to start, begin by completing your health risk appraisal on the Wellness Support Center Website, . This not only will help you identify priorities but also will connect you with support resources.

2) Make a list of the benefits of the change and keep it handy for review. A list helps you articulate why you want to make a change, and can be useful in motivating yourself when you are feeling weak or frustrated.

3) Make a plan. Identify a series of small, easy steps to achieve the changes you want to make. A plan might include things like setting a date, scheduling a class, acquiring needed items, i.e., good exercise shoes, or getting rid of things like ashtrays or high- calorie snacks.

4) Make use of the resources around you. Join a class for support and encouragement. Ask your family and friends for their support. Encourage a friend to make the change with you.

5) Set goals. Working toward a reasonably attainable goal will help keep you focused. Track your progress and remind yourself that you are moving in the right direction.

6) Reward yourself. It may seem like a small thing, but planning rewards for progress and then actually giving yourself these rewards has been shown to be a very effective technique. It helps you celebrate the change and motivates you to press on.

7) Don't give up if you experience small setbacks. Setbacks are not uncommon for a variety of reasons, such as illness or disrupted schedules. Remind yourself you are still further along than you were and get back to where you left off.

Set yourself up for success as a resolutionary with these few tips and start reaping the rewards. For more support, visit the AFMC Wellness Support Center at: .