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Keep on Track With Your Health and Fitness New Year’s Resolutions

For many, the new year ushers in the notion of a new beginning and a sense of renewal and hope. It’s the time to look back on the past year and think about the life changes we would like to make. That’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about—those promises we make to ourselves to establish new routines and replace bad habits with good ones. Whether it’s a desire to improve our health, save money or clean out the attic, the possibilities seem endless and motivation is high with the prospect of a fresh start and the opportunity the new year brings.

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Establish Your New Year’s Resolutions

The most common resolutions focus on health and well-being, including weight loss, eating healthier, quitting smoking and exercising more. Keep in mind that no matter your level of fitness, your weight or your age, you can always make healthy changes.

When making New Year’s resolutions, make sure the goals you establish are realistic. Lofty goals can sound impressive, but breaking them down into smaller milestones can make them more attainable. For example, if you set a goal to lose 25 pounds, divide that goal into mini-goals of losing five pounds per month for five months. That’s about one pound per week, which is a healthy and realistic rate for weight loss.

Tips for Making Your Resolutions Come True

New Year’s resolutions are much easier to make than to keep. That’s why it’s so important to follow a system for achieving your goals. Instead of focusing on the end goal, focus your attention on the process and let the results take care of themselves. The following strategies may boost your chances of success:

New Year’s resolutions are much easier to make than to keep. That’s why it’s so important to follow a system for achieving your goals.

  • Set one goal at a time. As tempting as it may be to declare a long list of resolutions, focusing on one goal at a time makes it much more achievable. You can always start another resolution later in the year.
  • Make your goal specific. Instead of resolving to “lose weight,” determine exactly how much weight you intend to lose and the strategy to achieve the weight loss.
  • Develop a plan and keep track of your progress. Use a calendar or a journal to plan out your strategy and keep notes along the journey.
  • Find a buddy or a group for support. Share your goals with friends and family and ask them to check in on your progress.
  • Be patient with yourself. If you have a setback, don’t give up. Recommit to your goal and jump back into the process.
  • Reward your success. When you meet your goals, give yourself a well-deserved reward for your achievement. Buying yourself a new outfit or workout clothes, taking a bubble bath, getting tickets to see your favorite team, are a few examples.

Make Your New Year a Healthy One With MOVE!

If your resolution is to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier and improve your overall well-being, MOVE! can help you get started. MOVE! is a weight management and health promotion program, designed by the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, to improve the lives of Veterans. All Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers and many VA Community-based Outpatient Clinics offer MOVE!

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MOVE! targets physical inactivity and unhealthy food choices—two of the biggest drivers of chronic disease and death. The program uses patient-centered, evidence-based methods to empower Veterans to reduce weight and improve overall health. Check out several hundred success stories on the MOVE! website and read about how Veterans have benefited from the program.

Although only Veterans receiving care in VA can enroll in the MOVE! program, the MOVE!11 questionnaire can be taken by anyone. It produces a report that is individualized and includes a list of recommended resources. The questionnaire also produces a report for health care providers. Veterans can take this report to their provider for further guidance on weight management. MOVE! Coach is an app for iOS and Android devices. The app can be downloaded and used by Veterans and non-Veterans and encompasses the main principles of the MOVE! program in 16 modules.

Healthy Resolutions Throughout the Year

New Year’s resolutions can be a productive way to reach goals and improve your life. But you don’t have to wait for the new year to set goals that will help you accomplish the changes you can make to be a better, healthier version of yourself. Just remember the basics: Set realistic goals, develop an action plan and find a social connection to help you stay focused.

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