Resolution solutions for a happy, healthy 2013

Each year Americans make their list of resolutions for the New Year, and each year many forget those resolutions within a short time. Since many of the most popular resolutions are health-related, here are some tips for keeping your resolutions this year.

Whether your resolution is to lose weight, eat healthier, stop smoking or start exercising, the process of taking the resolution from thought to action is the same. Here are some simple steps to making your goals a reality.

Write it downBy putting the resolution or goal on paper, you're making it more concrete. In your mind, the resolution has gone from a thought to something you can actually see and visualize. You may find it helpful to post your list where you can see it every day.

Keep it shortDon't put too many resolutions on your list. A short and simple list is much more achievable than one that starts to look like the Gettysburg Address.

Break it downIf your overall resolution is something like "lose weight," break that resolution down into smaller goals that you can achieve. For instance, you could break the weight loss goal into sub-goals such as eat an extra serving of fruit and vegetables every day for one week or take a brisk walk around the office at lunch. Make the sub-goals something that you can easily achieve. You may need to lose 40 pounds, but you'll stick with it if you are realistic about what you can achieve. Most people tend to lose one to two pounds a week with dieting and exercise, so a sub-goal of losing 6 pounds in one month is achievable. Losing 10 percent of your current body weight in 6 months is a realistic long term goal.

Make it personalYour resolution should be something you want to achieve. While your friends and family may be encouraging you to stop smoking, you need to want it as well.

Stay positiveIt's hard at first to stay motivated so practice positive self-talk. Tell yourself what you are doing to help meet your goal. Congratulate yourself for talking a walk instead of smoking a cigarette or having a salad with low-fat dressing instead of a jumbo burger and an order of fries for lunch.

Get some supportAsk your friends and family to help you achieve your goal. They can provide motivation when you need it and cheer you on from the sidelines. You might even find a resolution buddy to go on the journey with you. Hilton Head Hospital and your physician may have resources that can help you achieve your health-related resolutions. You should talk to your physician before beginning any exercise program. Your doctor also can recommend ways to stop smoking, lose weight and other health matters. If you need a physician, please call us at 877-582-2737 for a free, confidential referral.