Resolve to keep your resolutions: Here’s how

January 1, 2019

Every December 31 the clock strikes 12, we watch the ball drop, toast with champagne, sing auld lang syne, and, most importantly, make resolutions to improve ourselves or the lives of others in the new year. In fact, 40 percent of Americans commit themselves to one or more resolutions. Not surprisingly, the top 2019 resolutions were to exercise more (59 percent), eat healthier (54 percent), save money (51 percent), and lose weight (48 percent).

Since losing weight goes hand-in-hand with eating better and exercising, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most common resolutions our patients make. The second most common resolution we hear from patients is to quit smoking. Like other lifestyle changes, these resolutions won’t happen overnight and we don’t have any shortcuts—what we do have are tips and recommendations to help you keep your resolution, whether you’re looking to kick your nicotine habit or shape up:

  • Embrace change: Prepare yourself for this life-altering change by following the 11 steps of how to embrace, accept, and create change during difficult times, designed by the New York Times bestselling authors of Switch, Chip and Dale Heath. No time to read 300 pages? Refer to our summary in 11 Steps to Successfully Quit Smoking and Start Living.
  • Start small: One of the biggest reasons resolutions fail is because people expect too much of themselves too soon and become disheartened when they fall short. Quitting smoking cold turkey isn’t as easy for some people, so instead gradually decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke a day over a period of time until you feel prepared to stop altogether. Similarly, no personal trainer will tell you to run 10 miles and bench double your weight your first day at the gym. Gradually build up your strength and endurance each visit and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come in a few months’ time.
  • Celebrate little victories. Big lifestyle changes take time and perseverance, and that’s something to celebrate. Your overall goal may be to lose 20 pounds or quit smoking entirely, but the journey there is full of milestones that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether it’s losing that first five pounds or only smoking half a pack instead of a full one, every step forward is something to be proud of.
  • Prepare to fail: Everyone fails now and again; there’s no shame in it. What matters more is how you deal with failure. You’ll never accomplish anything if you give up after any failure—instead, use it as a learning experience and keep trying.
  • Put your phone to use: Think of your smartphone as a tiny digital coach in your pocket, encouraging you to keep working toward your goals, tracking your progress, and keeping you accountable.
    • Smoke Free (available for both iPhone and Android users) shows you how many cigarettes you haven’t smoked, how much money you’ve saved, how long you’ve been smoke-free, and various health and life stats and insights. It also has a diary feature to record your journey and the option to share your progress with friends.
    • Lifesum (available for both iPhone and Android users) is a weight loss app that lets you set a diet plan, track your calories, find healthy recipes, plan your meals, get nutrition tips, and track your health and fitness.
    • Don’t do it alone: At Orlin & Cohen, we care about more than just your orthopedic health—we care about your overall health. That’s why we created our Weight Loss Support Group and Smoking Cessation Support Group. Each offers a support system for sharing your experience and stories while benefiting from advice and encouragement from others who share your goals.

Now that you have the tools you need to successfully keep and achieve your New Year’s resolution, the rest is up to you. Start your journey to wellbeing today and make 2019 a (healthier) year to remember!