Hello and welcome to week two of 2023, also known as “The week it gets hard to keep those resolutions.” The first week is easy: you’re motivated, you’re optimistic, getting out of bed in the pitch dark to work out seems doable. But now? You’re faced with the reality that change doesn’t happen all at once and the snooze button and the fast-food drive-thru are all verrrry tempting. Now is when the resolutions you made for the New Year start to feel too lofty. In fact, according to a study out of the University of Scranton, less than 25% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually stick to them.
The doctors, nurses, and staff at Englewood Health in Englewood, New Jersey would like to offer you an alternative. Instead of setting unrealistic goals you never follow through on, why not swap them for one or more of these incremental changes that will have a positive impact on your health and lay the foundation for habits you can maintain:
- Sit less, move more. Making it to the gym on the regular is admirable, but for many of us, it’s also more aspirational than operational. So, why not just commit to moving more than you have been. Maybe that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator or setting an alarm and taking a lap around the office once an hour or going for an afternoon walk around the neighborhood. It can also mean picking up a new activity like biking or dancing or stretching each morning or before bed each night. The key is finding an activity that brings you joy. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll happily do it more frequently.
- Incorporate healthy foods, drink more water. Yes, it sounds great to say you’re going to eat only salads from now on. But deprivation is rarely good for motivation. So, instead of a restrictive, crash diet, just make a conscious effort to add more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and leafy greens to your diet. Then, go a step further and swap sodas, sugary coffee drinks and juices for water. It’s recommended that adults drink 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but start with one or two and raise a glass to celebrate your progress.
- Begin a sleep schedule. Everything hinges on sleep. Your body conducts maintenance while you sleep, your brain embeds knowledge, and the rest you get sets you up for a better day when you awaken. But too often, screens or our busy lives interfere with a consistent bedtime. Cut yourself some slack for those times when you can’t get to bed on time, but commit to trying to get to sleep at the same time every night and, trying to wake up at the same time every morning (yes, even on the weekends). Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Limiting daytime naps, alcohol consumption, and screen time can help you when it’s time for some shut eye.
- Try to quit smoking. Overcoming an addiction is hard. It requires an intentional daily commitment. So, make today Day One. Enroll in a smoking cessation program and learn new strategies to curb your cravings so you can get to Day Two and then Day Three, and so on. The program offers professionals who have helped other smokers quit for good. They’ll be there to help you along the way and encourage you in the event you have a few Day Ones in your future. Just keep trying and you’ll get there. Also, know there are a lot of people cheering you on!
- Get care when you need it. It’s really easy to put your health at the bottom of your priority list when you’re caring for family, working, and doing life. But the best thing you can do for your health is to make an appointment with your primary care physician, and any specialists, for a yearly examination. Schedule those overdue health screenings and familiarize yourself with the locations of urgent care centers in your area. Englewood Health has urgent care centers in Englewood, Cresskill, Fair Lawn, and Jersey City that are open seven days a week, with extended weekday and weekend hours, and accept walk-in appointments.
Those resolutions you make? They’re an investment in YOU. And you’re worth it. Englewood Health is here, year-round, to lend you a hand on your road to health. Now go make those changes and change your life!