Working on a journey toward better health is a great and empowering decision, and the dawn of a new year offers a perfect opportunity to embrace positive change.
Crafting a New Year’s resolution centered around improving one’s health not only signifies a commitment to personal well-being but also marks the beginning of a transformative adventure.
We often make resolutions at the beginning of the year, but most of these resolutions slowly dissipate after the first few weeks. Sometimes, we assume we can quickly and easily make these significant changes and we’ll be able to stick to them, but often, this is not the case.
Studies say it takes about 21 days to adopt new habits. Some important steps in keeping your New Year resolution include creating a plan, holding yourself accountable, and being patient.
While it is easier said than done, we at SOAR, are focusing on our healthier communities blueprint pillar for January. In doing so, we reached out to Pikeville Medical Center, UK King’s Daughters Medical Center, and Appalachian Regional Healthcare to help us share five ways to jumpstart realistic goals and achieve them.
Let’s dig right in!
Make a Plan That Fits Your Lifestyle
Are you the type to go “all out” when it comes to making future goals and plans? Our partners at Appalachian Regional Healthcare warn about the dangers of making dramatic decisions when it comes to planning your new health diet or resolutions.
“Start Small,” shares Ashley Webb, System Diabetes Education Coordinator at Appalachian Regional Hospital, “Keep realistic goals – don’t pick something that will only discourage you from continuing.”
“It’s not enough to make a New Year’s resolution,” says family physician Kate Tackett, D.O at UK King’s Daughters in Prestonsburg, “You also have to make a plan for that resolution that suits your lifestyle.”
Since life can often be busy, Dr. Tackett notes that incorporating a plan that fits into your daily or weekly schedule is a helpful tool for remaining dedicated. This can also help form habits.
“Know your priorities. Know what’s going to work for your life and your lifestyle,” said Dr. Tackett.
Self Care is also included in this and self-care looks different for everyone, so assessing overall well-being and finding ways to promote good health is important. Taking time for solitude and reflection can decrease stress and improve mindset. Getting examined regularly by your healthcare practitioner is vital. Regular check-ups, blood work, and screenings can help spot potential problems before they become more serious. Staying up-to-date with vaccines is another way to take care of oneself.
Control Your Food and Portions
Control, control, control.
Start by using a meal break-down plate. This will help show you how much food you should be eating.
Measure your food portions (and measure everything). This will help give you a more visual idea of how much food you are actually eating. Once you see what a true portion of your favorite food looks like, you are more likely to stick to that portion, and curb overeating.
Log in every single food item you eat, and log in drinks as well. Use free apps to see how many calories you are eating. After some time, you will notice the correct amount of calories that are meant for you
Find a balance. We can still eat the foods we love, but practicing mindfulness and learning what to eat in moderation is key to long-term success.
Eating healthier is one of the more popular resolutions individuals make each year. Doing a complete 180 turn on your diet is challenging. Pikeville Medical Center recommends that starting slowly and simply is best. The most efficient way to boost nutrient intake is by meal prepping. This aids in cooking healthier foods, avoiding fast food or more convenient unhealthy options, saving time, and helping with portion control.
For help with meal preparation or nutritional education, speak with your PCP. They can offer tips or refer you to a nutritionist, diabetes education, or diet specialists if necessary.
Start Small with Your Physical Activity Goals
You do not need to be running 5 miles every day to be healthy, you can just start small! Set a timer and walk around for 5 minutes every hour. Just 30 minutes of activity a day, every day helps. Make it easy and attainable by breaking it up into smaller segments throughout your day.
Exercising can be tedious or even dreadful for many people. The best way to stay active is to discover a sport or physical activity that brings genuine enjoyment. This will encourage prioritizing getting moving, which allows us to look forward to exercising. Reaching out to friends and family who enjoy similar activities and sports can make it a fun, social outing that doesn’t feel like work.
Start simple. A little movement is better than none at all! Daily walking or light stretching is a great way to ease into fitness. Check with a PCP on what activity is best for you.
Many people fear exercising, especially those who are just starting their fitness journey or have health issues. For patients diagnosed with heart disease or who have undergone heart surgery, Pikeville Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program offers lifestyle monitoring and fitness programs to help restore the patient’s heart to maximum efficiency. Talk to your PCP about a program best suited for you.
Drink More Water and Get Plenty of Sleep
Sometimes when your body is thirsty, it can appear like you are hungry. Drink more water, this might help lessen hunger. The more hydrated, the better you will feel about being encouraged to run and do activities
Prioritizing sleep plays an integral role in our short-term and long-term health. Not only does it energize us, but adequate sleep promotes better moods, translating into connections with others and accomplishing important tasks throughout the day. Most adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Creating a nighttime “wind-down” routine and setting and sticking to bedtimes and wakeup times can aid in achieving a good sleeping pattern.
Sleep disorders impact the quality of life and, when left untreated, can cause hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cardiac complications, and more. The PMC Sleep Center offers specialty services to test, diagnose, and treat adult patients with sleep disorders.
Challenge a Friend to Keep You Accountable
Create a challenge with a friend to work with you. This will help keep accountability and create a challenge to stay in shape. Friends also make exercising easier!
Lastly, but most importantly, prioritize mental health. Mental health has been an increasingly common challenge in the past few years, and it is often overlooked. It is important to prioritize our overall health to enjoy each day. Finding things in each day that bring us joy is vital. Whether it’s journaling, listening to music, going to a new coffee shop, hanging out with friends, cooking new recipes, or meditating, these activities can all play a part in improving mental health and boosting overall mood.
Get 2024 Started!
Focusing on the benefits of a resolution rather than seeing it as a chore can help you stick to it. Create a plan, build a support system, celebrate small wins, and learn from setbacks. Committing to a New Year’s resolution can be difficult, but it is well worth it once we meet our goals.
Embracing a healthier lifestyle through well-defined health goals is a powerful way to kick off the new year. Bid farewell to the old and welcome the new, embrace the opportunity for transformation, and make the most of the blank canvas that is 2024!
If you have more questions about maintaining your health goals for the New Year, the team at King’s Daughters Prestonsburg is here to help! Their family medicine physicians deliver a range of acute, chronic and preventive medical care services, including routine checkups, health risk assessments, immunization and screening tests. King’s Daughters Prestonsburg is located at 1279 Old Abbott Mountain Road. To schedule an appointment, call (606) 886-1260.
ARH is helping our healthy communities’ goal by hosting Diabetes support groups. It’s every last Thursday of the month and it is also offered online!
At UK HealthCare’s Cardiac Rehabilitation, Dr. Shorus Minella, Dietitian and Patient Education Coordinator helps guide patients on making smart goals and lifestyle changes after a heart attack or heart surgery. They have classes specifically focused on setting attainable nutrition and weight loss goals.
At Pikeville Medical Center (PMC), talented and dedicated healthcare professionals can assist patients in achieving their health goals. Many resolutions can be addressed with a primary care provider (PCP), and this is the first step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Beyond treating illnesses, PCPs work one-on-one with a patient to assess their personal health needs and goals. From diet and nutrition, weight loss, and sleep health to stress management, cancer screenings, vaccinations, and more, PMC primary care providers can give tips or referrals that are in the best interest of the patient’s health. The first step in healthy living is establishing a long-term relationship with a PCP focusing on comprehensive and continuous care. Additional PMC departments helpful in accomplishing New Year’s resolutions include weight loss surgery, diabetes education and support, sleep medicine, women’s care, and more.
For those considering weight loss surgery, PMC offers a FREE Weight Loss Surgery Seminar. The PMC bariatrics staff will sit with each patient to create individual plans and provide counseling. For more information, ask your PCP or call 606-430-2205 for PMC’s Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery clinic.