How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

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The start of a new year seems like the right time to set resolutions. We may even make lists of things we’d like to change. Our lists often include “eat healthy” and “exercise more.” Sometimes it's hard to follow through.

This year, start by thinking about what being healthy means to you. Make an action plan that focuses on small changes. It's easier to start small. Even small successes can lead to a healthier, happier you over time.

Don’t focus so much on losing a lot of pounds or bench-pressing enough weight to impress your friends. Instead, make a pledge that better health will be a priority — not a passing thought. 

Here are five small changes and tips that can lead to better health. 

  1. Schedule your appointments.
    Get a “wellness” visit with your doctor on the books. Do it early in the year so you can discuss any health concerns and plan for the year. Find out what preventive care you and your family need and schedule the appointments right away.

    Ask your doctor about any health checks or screenings you need. It’s important to catch diseases early, when they tend to be easier to treat. 

    Remember, you'll get more out of your doctor’s visit if you're honest. Tell your health care provider everything, even things that might be embarrassing. Knowing all the information helps your doctor provide the best possible care. 

    While you’re at it, get your personal health record (PHR) together. You probably visit different doctors and pharmacies throughout the year. Keep a list of them all. Take it with you to all your appointments. A PHR can make it easier to update each doctor about tests or medications prescribed by another doctor. Learn more about a PHR from the Mayo Clinic. leaving site icon And take a look at the Food and Drug Administration’s simple form leaving site icon to help manage medication lists.
  2. Eat healthier.
    While noshing on better foods is a worthy goal,  making big changes to your diet can be difficult. You don’t need to give up red meat or become a vegetarian. Try small changes instead. Add a piece of fresh fruit or some vegetables to each meal. If it’s too hard to skip dessert, start with a smaller piece of pie and savor each bite.
  3. Take a walk.
    “Exercise more” doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Even a little extra exercise can provide big benefits. Start small. Take a walk around the block. Work your way up from there. Exercise can improve your mood and memory. It can also help you sleep better — another boost for better health.
  4. Get social.
    Join a club. Take a class. Volunteer in your community. You can even connect with others online. 
  5. Learn something new.
    It’s never too late to learn. Find a hobby. Learn a new skill. Doing so is fun and learning exercises your brain and keeps it in shape. 

Make this the year you take care of you. Create your plan for better health now and start getting it done.

Sources: Personal health records and patient portals, leaving site icon The Mayo Clinic, 2022; 20 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Really Keep, leaving site icon WebMD, 2022.

Originally published January 1, 2015; Revised 2020-2021, 2023