How to set (and keep) New Year’s resolutions

Medical, financial and fitness experts offer tips for realistic paths to success

In setting resolutions for the new year, consider three things: being honest, being gentle and setting reasonable goals.

Kevin Baker, a nurse practitioner and primary care provider at Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia, said analyzing current habits can lead to major changes, then prioritizing those changes in different ways.

“I recommend a look at their overall health or some obtainable goal that they have,” Baker said. “What kind of changes do they want to make, whether it is a financial change, family, relationship change, or health change? And prioritizing those changes and then working to obtain those and in different ways.”

Baker said many of his patients ask him about making diet and exercise changes this time of year. He talks to them about exercise changes, changing nutrition and screening every few months.

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Talking to a primary care provider about specific needs can also be helpful, Baker said.

Doug Kinsey, a founding partner of Artifex Financial Group in Oakwood, a financial advisory firm, said people who have financial goals need to be honest with themselves about what is achievable for them.

“I think some people are disciplined enough to stick to goals,” Kinsey said. “Others need a coach.”

Looking for a fee-only financial advisor who has a good reputation is key for people who want to work on their financial success, he said.

Kinsey also advised everyone should look at items like retirement funds and analyze spending from the past year. People often do not save enough for retirement, he noted.

Analyzing behavior is a key part of what Jason Harrison, co-owner of Present Tense Fitness in the Oregon District, speaks with his clients about. He agreed that sometimes having a coach or a professional who can work with you on goals is helpful.

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“I think a lot and talk a lot with my clients about the idea of being an analyst of one behavior and not a judge of one’s behavior,” Harrison said. “And it’s that analysis piece that I think is important for any sort of goal setting to become sustainable.”

Harrison said for someone who has a nutrition goal to eat less fast food but finds themselves at a fast-food place for dinner, analyze what led to that action, but don’t get angry. Maybe that person missed grocery shopping because of a kid’s soccer game but planning could help avoid it in the future.

Sustainable, realistic change is key to achieving goals, Harrison said. A huge weight loss goal in a short time is unlikely, he noted, like losing 50 pounds in six months, but small changes, like a commitment to work out three times a week, could be more sustainable.

“We can make a plan to take into account our actual real lives and build a plan around that,” Harrison said.

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