Help for healthful resolutions - Catholic Courier

Help for healthful resolutions

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, the one thing I resolve to do is expect to modify my resolutions!

It’s all too easy to make big plans leading up to Jan. 1, only to have "life intervene" shortly afterward when schedules return to frenzied normal and outside responsibilities once again eat away at time and energy.

Instead of setting up my expectations to fail (the "all or nothing" approach), I’ve developed some guidelines that can inform the goals I hope to achieve.

Here are a few of the things I keep in mind as the old year rings out and the new year begins:

Keep plans and goals simple.

A complete reworking of a lifestyle is probably not achievable, at least not in the course of the 12 months of a new year.

Exercise plans that can fit into a current work schedule, for example, are more likely to be doable.

Other health-care goals, such as getting cholesterol levels down, are easier to adhere to if they are broken up into simple steps.

Prioritize now and throughout the year.

If you live with a chronic illness, what might be a priority for your health now might not be in the next month when another symptom could arise.

Although it can seem frustrating if all of your health goals can’t be met at once, it’s important to alleviate the stress of trying to accomplish so much by taking care of what’s most important at any given time.

Expect the unexpected.

As soon as you return to work, school and life in general, unexpected issues will arise. Whether pleasant or difficult, these will bump against the healthful resolutions you’d like to carry out and could derail them — if you allow it.

This is why it is important to think through a "what if" scenario or two at the beginning of the new year. You also should have contingency plans if something happens to threaten your well-laid plans.

Stay informed throughout the year.

In just the past few weeks, for example, widely differing study results regarding the efficacy of vitamin D have been reported. This underscores how quickly health news can evolve and shift, and how important it is to stay informed about our own health issues and those things that influence public health, such as flu demographics and food recalls.

Discuss health resolutions with others.

The support and encouragement of others can give you tremendous strength, bolstering flagging resolve throughout the year.

You also can lend your support to others and build fellowship in the process. Whether it is with loved ones, coworkers or support groups online, sharing our goals and struggles to achieve them is a great way to spread the word about meeting challenges and persevering.

Keep a realistic budget.

Living healthfully does not have to cost a great deal of money or be a full-time endeavor. At the beginning of the new year, understand what is affordable in both weekly time commitments and monetary output. Then, tailor exercise, diet, health care and other considerations accordingly, reviewing these throughout the year and making adjustments as they are needed.

Finally, I always come back to "keep it simple."

In this complicated, complex world, it’s easy to believe that everything we do has to be multilayered and multitasked.

Yet, just like faith that is childlike and love that is pure, simple goals and dreams can shine with clarity.

Pratt is a columnist for Catholic News Service.

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