The New Year is always a chance to wipe the slate clean and adopt habits that improve our lives and wellbeing – so we can be better versions of ourselves. Did you know that three of the top four resolutions in a 2018 YouGov poll were health-related? The most popular answers were: eat healthier (1), get more exercise (2) and focus on selfcare, e.g., get more sleep (4). But what is your typical success rate when you try to commit to a new habit? When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there are three types of people: the resolution newbie, the resolution master and the resolution flunkee. Let’s see which category you most identify with—and how focusing on the right strategy can help you get healthier in the new year.
Resolution Newbie. Maybe this is your first time making a commitment to your health and wellness. For some, it could be a health scare or the tragic loss of someone close that may trigger this newfound drive to start taking care for yourself. For others, it may be the the desire to be more active and enjoy strength and vitality. Either way, taking that first step is a big one so you’ll want to be sure that you’re prepared for the challenge. Exercising for the first time could be daunting, exhausting, and frustrating – especially if you’ve had a long hiatus from strenuous activity. It’s important to be prepared for what’s headed and clinicians like nutritionists and physical therapists can make sure that your body is prepared to take on new challenges and work with you to a design a program that will help you achieve your goals. We can also help warn you of what lies ahead (soreness, tightness), how to counteract that, and also how to progress your exercise routine safely and progressively so you don’t fall into trap of doing too much to the point of breaking your resolution.
Resolution Master. Perhaps you fall into a different camp: You vowed to get healthy before in previous New Year’s resolutions and you achieved it! Now for 2019, your resolution is to continue on with the work you’ve begun, and maybe progress yourself even further. After all, living a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment; it’s not something you do for a while and then revert back to your former habits. As you prepare to embrace the new year, are there any extra things you can think of that you want to achieve? More flexibility? More endurance? More sport? Maybe you’re thinking about training for and running a half marathon, but don’t know where to begin. A physical therapy evaluation and Running Gait Analysis is a great place to start—PTs are trained to assess your movement patterns and identify any limitations or weaknesses. We can even suggest shoewear based on your running and prescribe exercises to better improve yourself. Our PTs can design a personalized exercise program to help you safely and effectively prepare for the grueling half marathon course.
Resolution Flunkee. Let’s say your plan for 2019 is to get in better shape and improve your overall health (we support that resolution!), but unfortunately this isn’t your first rodeo… your 2018 resolution was pretty similar only it’s now one year later, and you’re in the same place you were on New Year’s Eve 2017. What stood in your way—was it time? Affordable options? Access to healthy choices and activities? If any of these barriers sound familiar, then along with your resolution, you need an appropriate action plan tailored to YOU. Without planning ahead, you’ll find yourself staring down the year 2020 with the same goal in mind again. It’s time to be introspective: What do you think was missing that made you fail last year? Did you have outside help – someone to guide you, friends, a social network? How successful were you at charting out the short-term goals? (Sometimes it’s the small steps that count!) What small successes did you have last and how did you achieve them? (Small actions like taking more 10 min walks counts as a huge success already so don’t discount it!) If you were on track to achieving your resolutions, were you sidetracked by something? A feeling or an event? How will you prevent being sidetracked this year? Write answers to these questions down so you can start a conversation with yourself – sometimes writing things on paper gives you objectivity and helps you further commit your health plans.
So, which resolution type are you? Stride Strong PT wishes you luck!!
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Director at Stride Strong Physical Therapy