Making your healthy New Year’s resolution stick

By Karen Bartholet, Army Public Health Nursing, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center

New Year’s resolutions are most recognized as a Western tradition, but they can be traced back thousands of years.

The ancient Babylonians are believed to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, Romans made promises of good conduct for the coming year, and early Christians practiced a tradition of thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do better.

Most New Year’s resolutions, according to Wikipedia, are centered on acts of self-improvement.

A little more than half of Americans have made a New Year’s resolution this year. But according to a study published by the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, only about 8 percent will achieve their goal.

According to the Nielsen Company, the top five New Year’s resolutions for 2016 were:

  • Stay fit and healthy.
  • Lose weight.
  • Spend less, save more.
  • Enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Spend more time with family.

Healthy lifestyle choices are an important goal when making a New Year’s resolution.

The Army’s Performance Triad is an example of healthy lifestyle choices. It is a comprehensive plan to promote sleep, activity and nutrition. These three key actions influence health in the “life space,” or the time that isn’t spent with a health care provider.

There are 525,600 minutes in a year, and on average an individual will spend 100 minutes with their health care provider. As a result, the biggest impact we can make on our health is made by making better choices in our “life space.”

So, what is the solution to achieving your healthy New Year’s resolution?

Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Clearly defining your goals will allow you to understand exactly how you plan to make changes.

Tracking your progress will make your resolution more concrete.

Life has a way of getting busy and distracting people from their goals. Be sure to make your goal attainable. Start with small steps and celebrate small victories.

One of the most important pieces to achieving your New Year’s resolution is setting a timeline. Without any sort of deadline, it is hard to have any real motivation to make a change.

Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center offers programs for helping you achieve your health goals. The Army Wellness Center provides integrated and primary prevention programs to improve the overall health and well-being to Soldiers and retirees, their families and Army civilians at no cost.

Core programs include health assessment review, physical fitness, healthy nutrition, stress management, general wellness and tobacco cessation. To schedule an appointment, call 301-677-2006.

The pharmacy also offers support for TRICARE beneficiaries who would like to quit smoking. To schedule an appointment with a clinical pharmacist who can prescribe medications to ease and assist with quitting, call 301-647-8800.

Ucanquit2.com is an online resource for TRICARE beneficiaries that can provide support 24 hours a day with online chat lines and phone hotlines at 1-800-694-4747.

The nutrition clinic at Kimbrough is staffed by registered dieticians that offer a variety of medical nutrition therapies, and nutrition and fitness activities for active-duty service members, retirees and family members.

In addition to group classes, the nutrition clinic provides a variety of individualized appointments to help manage different health conditions such as weight management, diabetes and prediabetes, eating disorders, high blood pressure, heart health, high cholesterol, gastrointestinal issues and special diets, and basic nutrition.

For more information, call 301-677-8949. To schedule an appointment, call 301-677-8800.

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