By Maria Jauhar, M.D.

The sparkle of the holiday season is often reflected in our eyes when we turn our attention to New Year’s resolutions. Our enthusiasm is something to value a great deal, because it gets us going. On the other hand, the tradition of New Year’s resolutions can lead to quick-fix attempts and short-term ambitions.

The fact is, the resolutions that work are almost always steady, incremental efforts. No matter whether it’s exercise, diet, or any kind of positive habit formation, it turns out to be more important to do a reasonable amount with relentless regularity, rather than to take on a lot all at once.

Let’s take a look at some of the “usual suspects” that arise when New Year’s resolution time comes around, and see how a steady approach can turn them from daydreams into parts of our lives.

Think Beyond the Top 10

The 10 most common resolutions people make at the turn of the year show an admirable ambition for change. Getting more education, a better job, a new romantic relationship, and so forth. When we look carefully at these ambitions, though, do we focus too much on the outside world, when the answer may well be within ourselves?

The climactic scene in The Wizard of Oz is uncommonly wise. Each of the seekers discovered that they had been carrying the answer around within them through the whole adventurous journey.

Beyond the Top 10 are the changes we make within ourselves. Our beliefs, our habits, and our expectations are the keys. With them, we open the door of actions that lead to achieving what we desire.

The Goal is Balance, Not Perfection

The single greatest defeater of New Year’s resolutions is unreasonable expectations. We tend to want it all, and fast.

Taking steps toward our goal in the outside world is a vital part of turning resolutions into reality. Don’t think how far off a degree might be; enroll in a class. Don’t defeat your career ambitions by inventorying your faults, call friends and tell them you’re considering a new career path, and then ask them what they think. Wherever we look for improving our lives, the great journey begins with a humble step.

Quality of Life Begins with Life Itself

Quitting cigarettes, eating right, and exercising regularly are the three most vital resolutions of all, because without life, we have nothing to improve. And because these new habits take time and encouragement to form, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with support, from family, from friends – and from a professional.

Lining Up a Professional Ally

Ask any college or professional athlete about the first day of training “camp,” and they’ll tell you it starts with a physical exam. Nutritional resolutions are vulnerable to fads when you start without the perspective of a qualified person, one who knows your unique physiology. And research shows that more people succeed at quitting cigarettes when they have support, like medical supervision. So when you’re serious about your new year’s resolutions don’t forget to talk them over with your family physician.

To schedule an appointment with us at Island Family Medical Center, call 912.897.6832 or use our online appointment request form.