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Quick Tips to Make New Year's Health Resolutions that Stick

Community Outreach, Health Articles |
New Years Resolutions on Sticky Notes

A year ago, many of us likely had aspirations of what we might achieve with our health goals following the “New Year, New Me” mantra. But as we all know, 2020 opened with a life-altering pandemic, sadly, and the effects of it may have derailed our well-intentioned plans.

Even so, in a normal year, it’s typical for many of us to give up trying before too long. Eighty percent of people fail to keep their resolutions past Jan. 31, with only eight percent sticking with them the rest of the year. 1

So you want to make real change in 2021 and be like the eight percent but aren’t sure exactly how? Read on for tips to get you there:

  1. Make Resolutions Realistic and Specific: It’s easy to say you “are going to lose 20 pounds,” “exercise more,” or “eat healthier,” but it’s quite another putting such broad goals into practice. However, making resolutions that are specific such as, “I’m aiming to lose five pounds in a month,” “I plan to make it to the gym at least three days a week,” or “I’m going to eat more green veggies every day” are much easier to tackle and adhere to.
  2. Share Your Goal: Telling others about your New Year’s resolution makes you more accountable. Even better is to find a friend who has a similar goal so you can motivate each other.
  3. Attempt One Change at a Time: For resolutions to stick, it’s important to focus on only one behavior at a time, according to the American Psychological Association . For example, this is not the time to say you want to quit smoking AND lose weight. Because unhealthy behaviors tend to develop slowly over time, it’s going to take a while to transform one of them into healthier habits. Taking on more than one can lead to feeling overwhelmed and, ultimately, failure.
  4. Accentuate the Positive: Filling your head with negative messages when trying to accomplish a goal is a surefire pathway to defeat. To combat such thinking, focus on positives, no matter how small. For instance, maybe you didn’t have time to exercise for a full 30 minutes, but you managed to fit in 20 minutes of exercise. Celebrate the fact that you moved for most of the half-hour and weren’t sitting on the couch. Smaller chunks of good behavior still count! 2
  5. Keep at It: Just when you are growing tired of the sustained effort to meet your goal and want to give up, don’t do it. Persistence is key. Some experts say it takes about 21 days for habits to form. So stick with it and soon enough, you may have a permanent, positive behavior that makes you healthier and happier.
  6. Be Kind to Yourself: Still, despite your best efforts, sometimes resolutions get away from you, and that’s okay. Maybe you miss a workout for a week because you were too busy. Resist the temptation to beat yourself up or surrender completely. Perfection is not the goal. Making a positive change is. Give yourself a break and realize you can always try again.

Sources:

  1. Experts: Successful New Year's Resolutions Should Be Ambitious, But Realistic , Medicinenet 2020, Jan. 2.
  2. Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail, U.S. News & World Report, 2015, Dec. 29.


About Doylestown Health

Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 271 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.

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