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4 rules for better New Year's resolutions

If you’re planning your next year's resolutions, you may be wondering how to make good habits last throughout the new year.

Most people don’t stick to their resolutions for very long, but there are some strategies for enjoying success with incremental progress as you approach bigger goals.

Here are four rules for creating healthy goals that you’ll actually want to maintain.

1. Decide what’s sustainable for you

Many people bite off more than they can chew, and while it can be tempting to overhaul their lives overnight, this rarely leads to long-term success.

Instead, take stock of what's really manageable for you right now. The holiday season is not the best time to make huge changes, so consider waiting until mid-January to start any healthy lifestyle alterations.

2. Look for the root cause and not the surface issue

Physicians often see patients who want to lose a certain amount of weight. However, the smart way to approach weight loss is to work backward to figure out why you gained those extra pounds in the first place.

Lots of processed junk foods? A few too many late-night snacks? Too little sleep? Figuring out the true cause can help you lose weight and keep it off for the long term.

The principle applies to other health-based goals, too. If you’re interested in getting better rest, for example, consider why you’re frequently tired in the first place. That gives you a better starting point to tackle the problem.

3. Accept some setbacks with your goals

Remember to give yourself permission to fail occasionally. If you want to cut back on sweets, recognize that you aren't banning candy or doughnuts for the rest of your life.

An occasional treat is great, but you don't want to eat 10 doughnuts in one sitting.

4. Ask for help with your goals

This is one of the most important things you can do to support your goals. Get your family members involved, look for support groups or try a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy.

Talk to your doctor about your health goals, especially if you’re looking to quit something addictive like cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. Stopping some addictions cold turkey can be dangerous.

You may also be able to find resources in unexpected places. Some employers offer discounted gym memberships or therapy sessions, so don’t be afraid to ask about your options.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.


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