A new year brings with it the excitement of new resolutions to stay on track with improving happiness and health. Setting intentions for 2022 can help spark positive change. While resolution-setting can inspire transformations, not all resolutions are created equal. So what are the top resolutions your doctor wants you to make? The physicians at Tryon Medical Partners outline key resolutions for your best health:
1. Start small with more attainable goals
One mistake that many people make when creating a New Year’s resolution is choosing something that they are not able to keep. One study discovered that one-third of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. Researchers note that resolutions often fail for one of three reasons:
- They’re based on someone else telling you to change
- They’re too vague
- You haven’t created a concrete plan to achieve the resolutions
Rather than feeling frustrated when you have to abandon an unachievable goal, Dr. Ryan Shelton, an internal medicine specialist, advises people to, “Start with something smaller that is doable and that you’re interested in so that you can attain that goal.”
By choosing something that is more easily observable, you can see clear and actionable changes. While it may seem lofty to set a resolution to “lose weight,” setting a resolution to exercise three times a week can lead to achieving your overall goal.
2. Focus more holistically on being healthier rather than setting hard-to-achieve goals
While losing weight and eating better are common New Year’s resolutions, they can also make one feel they are trying to “conquer the world.” In order to make these resolutions stick, Dr. Shelton advises we focus on being healthier by moving more rather than thinking about it in terms of weight. Additionally, setting smaller goals (as referenced in point one) is more likely to result in long-term change. Some examples you can follow:
- If you have a sedentary lifestyle, aim to move for one minute every hour.
- Make lunch at home rather than buying from a restaurant so you can focus on healthy ingredients and portions.
- Create a fitness goal rather than a weight loss goal. For example, add an additional gym day each week or get outside for a hike on weekends.
- Choose a form of exercise you actually like, so you will continue with it because you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy running, try something you do, like playing basketball or gardening.
- Add a hobby that mixes socialization and activity, such as walking with friends.
3. See your doctor regularly
While setting a goal to see your doctor more regularly might seem less glamorous than other New Year’s resolutions, it can actually form the foundation for more common resolutions such as “getting healthy.” Seeing your doctor regularly can help you stay healthy and on track to having a good new year.
Visits to doctors have been especially impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One in five Americans report that they have delayed seeing their doctor because of the pandemic, but seeing your doctor is one of the best things you can do for your health.
“Many ailments, such as diabetes, emphysema and rheumatoid arthritis need on-going care from a doctor, and can quickly get worse unless treated by a physician,” says Tryon CEO and cardiologist Dr. Dale Owen. “Postponing or avoiding medical care can compromise your overall health, and put you at greater risk should you contract COVID-19.”
4. Prioritize your mental health
Winter is often a difficult time for our mental health, and this has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on your mental health in the new year is just as important as focusing on your physical health, and can ensure that you are a healthy, happy person in 2022. However, it can be difficult to figure out where to start with this resolution. Dr. Robert Brownlee, an internal medicine specialist and board certified psychiatrist at Tryon Medical Partners, notes that you should start by asking your primary care doctor for help.
“Your doctor knows you best and can take any other ongoing medical conditions into consideration, treating the whole you,” Dr. Brownlee says. “Even if your situation includes seeing an additional expert, your primary care physician can help lay the groundwork.”
In addition to reaching out to your doctor to establish formal care, there are other things you can do at home to prioritize your mental health, including breathing exercises and meditation, getting better sleep by limiting blue light in your bedroom, and reaching out to your social networks if you feel isolated.
5. Make sure you’re up to date on health screenings
Ensuring you are current with health screenings is another way to proactively maintain a healthy life. Screenings that should be considered (depending on your personal characteristics) include: colonoscopies, breast cancer screenings, Pap smears, lab tests and anything else your doctor recommends might be relevant for you. By staying up to date with these screenings, you can rest comfortably knowing that you are identifying potential health issues as they arise, rather than treating them after they’ve progressed. Your internal medicine specialist will help you formulate a plan for all screenings and recommend specialists if needed.
With these New Year’s resolutions tips and tricks from the doctors at Tryon Medical Partners, you can enter 2022 with sustainable plans to be the best version of you.