New Year’s resolutions are often about improving your life, which is a great goal to have. Unfortunately, many resolutions made by residents of Dubuque and elsewhere are easily abandoned or broken within a month.
It’s disappointing but there really are long odds against keeping these goals, whether you’re in good health or receiving hospice care.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice will confess that we’ve been known to break some, or maybe even many, of our personal resolutions now and then, and we’re OK with it. No judgment here!
At the same time, we encourage our clients and their families to keep up with theirs. Or if they’re already broken, look for ways throughout the year to improve their lives and keep that idea going.
Rather than giving up entirely and doing the opposite of the resolution – eat worse and drink more instead of eating better and drinking less, for instance – we hope people will reset that goal and still try to make it part of their year’s plan, whether they’re making and re-making that resolution in January, June or maybe even November.
Goals are certainly tough, especially if habits and behaviors have been in place for years – and bring someone pleasure.
But with some determination and smarter goal-setting, there are ways to set and even achieve goals.
Part of why many resolutions fail is that they’re too big.
While it never hurts to visualize your awesome final objective, sometimes there might be a series of steps required to get there.
For instance, if you spent too much of the previous year on the couch and vow to get out and get physical this year, kudos! More exercise can do so much for physical and mental well-being. It also can help build strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance, which people of all ages need.
Where some people may make mistakes is when they push too hard right away, such as saying, “this year, I’m going to complete a marathon.”
If you’re not familiar with the world of fitness and are truly coming right off the couch, this goal could lend itself to frustration by being awfully difficult. This frustration could make it easy to abandon this goal once everything starts hurting and you realize it’s difficult to run or even walk a mile let alone 26 at once.
Worse, if you push yourself to keep at this, you may even injure yourself if your body isn’t used to this level of training.
What about setting your marathon goal for a few years down the road, and have your “this year” goal be something smaller but more achievable? Consider breaking your marathon goal into chunks and focus on each chunk as its own goal.
For instance, start with something like “walk around the block” or “walk 30 minutes five days a week.” These are great for any level of fitness and can be adjusted and expanded once they’re met. Once you can walk around the block, try two blocks. Walk 60 minutes a few days a week.
If you start small, you’ll be more likely to achieve these, and feel good about this too rather than be discouraged for what you can’t do right now.
Diet or bust
“Eating better” is another goal where plans can get sidetracked or derailed quickly. One flaw is you do need to eat to survive and can’t go cold turkey without eating anything. There are plenty of diets out there, including some that are actually harmful to the body if followed over a long period of time.
Other diets may actually cause weight gain, which is pretty much the opposite of what you’re after. This can be caused by inadequate nutrition and aggravated by stress over failing a goal, and other factors.
Or, in some cases, a diet may have immediate good results, but the minute it ends, the weight comes back or more of it.
Some diets are downright dangerous, especially the ones that claim to help you lose a lot of weight fast. This could be damaging – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that a safe amount of weight to burn is only 1-2 pounds a week or 4-8 pounds a month.
This could feel discouraging to people with a lot they want to come off fast, but this effort should be thought of as a longer-term solution that will get effective and safe results, even if patience and commitment are required
What if you applied smaller steps to your food goal choices? Instead of eating a lot and feeling bad, try:
- Buying and eating fruits and vegetables
- Working on a permanent plan for better eating rather than a dangerous crash diet
- Looking at diet as a part of a “better you” plan involving exercise, attitude, and more.
- Working with experts, such as nutritionists and fitness trainers. This way you’ll receive safe and current instruction and supervision, rather than methods you may have learned in the past that are considered inefficient or dangerous.
- Focus on enjoying the journey toward better help, rather than punishing yourself.