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Did you break your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Experts say you’re in good company

January 8, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dr. Stephan Kamholz says “modest and realistic” New Year’s resolutions have a better chance of sticking. Photo courtesy of Maimonides Medical Center
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A week has passed since New Year’s Day and already many Brooklyn residents are probably kicking themselves over breaking their resolutions. And even those who have kept their New Year’s resolutions thus far aren’t likely to remain faithful to their goals six months into 2016, according to experts.

A 2002 study by John Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, found that 36 percent of people break their resolutions by the time Feb. 1 rolls around. Fifty-four percent of people are no longer adhering to their New Year’s resolutions six months later, the study found.

Still, people often enter a new year filled with hope, optimism and determination to improve their lives. FiveThirtyEight.com reported in December that 44 percent of U.S. adults surveyed in a Marist poll said they planned to make New Year’s resolutions.

Dr. Stephan Kamholz, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center, said that among the most common goals people have are tied to diet, exercise and improving one’s overall health. Kamholz offers tips on how to keep New Year’s resolutions. One of his tips can be summed up in one word: moderation.

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“Most of us try to make too many changes at once,” he said. “It’s important to set modest and realistic goals so we don’t set ourselves up for failure.”

For most people, it only takes a few small changes to reverse course and improve overall health and wellness.

Here are a few more of Kamholz’s tips:

• Instead of focusing on foods to avoid, tntroduce healthier foods into your lifestyle.

• Go for a walk – often! Walking reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and increases overall energy.

• Add a serving of vegetables to lunch and dinner every day.

• Incorporate whole grains into menus. Try a new one (like barley or quinoa) or try a new recipe with familiar whole grains.

• Increase your fluid intake and incorporate more water into your daily routine. “If you spend January following these suggestions, you will already have a healthier lifestyle by February,” Kamholz said. “Maintaining those new healthy habits can be of great help throughout the rest of the year.”

Another great way to improve your chances for success is to encourage friends and family members to join you. Most people do better with a “buddy system” and support from loved ones, Kamholz said. In an article on The Huffington Post, Kate Bartolotta, a stress management coach, wrote that adding habits instead of removing them is a key to success in keeping resolutions.

“If you’d like to drink less coffee, start by adding more water or green tea. If you want to quit smoking, add a short walk at a time you normally smoke. It’s human nature to rebel. The minute anyone tells you that you can’t have something it immediately becomes more attractive. Add in positive behaviors that make the negative ones less comfortable,” Bartolotta wrote.


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