Friday, December 30, 2011

Making Healthful New Year's Resolutions That Stick

Friday, Dec. 30, 2011


By Stephen Blakesley

Clatsop County Health Promotion Specialist

I read this morning on breaking MTV news that the rapper “50 Cent” publically declared that one of his New Year’s resolutions was to quit smoking – “... it's a very dirty, filthy habit," he said. "But not [only] is it my New Year's resolution to quit, but it's also my New Year's resolution to get my friends to quit as well."

I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of us that quitting smoking makes it onto the lists of the top ten most popular New Year’s resolutions year after year. And it should. The hard-to-break addiction remains the number one thing a person can do to improve his or her health. Also no strangers to those top ten lists are: losing weight, eating better, and exercise. These too are excellent ideas because poor choice of diet mixed with physical inactivity is the number two killer behind tobacco in America, Oregon, and not surprisingly in Clatsop County.

So if we are, in fact, focusing on the right lifestyle choices to change, why aren’t those changes sticking? When resolutions are too big or to broad we can easily get discouraged and give up on them, often before we ever even get started. So here’s what we can do to make them stick:

Motivation – Your motivation must come from within you, this must be something YOU want to do.

Start small – Instead of “eating better” start by adding a serving of fresh vegetables three days a week

Map out your steps – If losing weight is your thing, plan the steps it will take to lose the 30 pounds, don’t just focus on the thirty pounds. You have to have a plan to get there.

Change your habits – If quitting smoking is your goal and you have a cigarette every morning when you rise, change it to a glass of water, or brushing your teeth. Be prepared that it takes repeating something 200-300 times to make it a habit, so be intentional about it and stick with it.

Seek a supportive environment – My wife’s got me doing push-ups again. My straining helps her stay motivated with her own exercises…and gets me off the couch. Fifty Cent understands this. He’s going to change his environment by getting his friends to quit with him.

Announce your resolution publically – Fifty Cent’s fans will now help hold him accountable. We all want to do what we say we will do. Tell the world, make it public, you’ll be more likely to stick it out and do it!

Get help- We don’t have to do this alone. There are organizations and classes can help us.

In Clatsop County, tobacco users can turn to the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line

The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line is a free program offered over the phone and on the Web that helps Oregonians quit tobacco by offering confidential, evidence-based coaching. Contact the Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669); 1-877-2NO-FUME (877-266-3863, Spanish version); or Callers may also be eligible for free nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches or gum.

If you want to learn more about taking charge of your health, setting goals, and making changes that address chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and other chronic health concerns, then “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” might be for you. This is a free six-week class that will get you moving towards a healthier you. To sign up call the Columbia Memorial Education Department at (503) 338-7564.

Released by:

Tom Bennett

Community Relations Coordinator

(503) 338-3622

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