Happy New Year from the American Kidney Fund! Many people have mixed feelings about setting New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because although January represents a fresh start, and resolutions can be exciting and motivating to set, many of us tend to set goals that are too aggressive, and then we feel defeated when we fall short of our goals. According to a 2014 University of Scranton study, nearly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but fewer than 1 in 10 actually achieve those goals.
But we believe that you can, in fact, set realistic, achievable goals toward better health. Incorporating small changes slowly, and setting tangible goals, is a big key to success with health-related New Year’s resolutions. To be successful in reaching your goals, keep in mind these tips:
- Make it SMART: “To get in shape” or “to lose weight” are great goals, but they are vague and complicated. A SMART goal, by contrast, is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based. “To walk 15 minutes five times a week this month” is a much better—and more attainable—goal. Learn more about how to make your New Year’s goals SMART.
- Make it tangible: Create a colorful and fun healthy eating and exercise schedule that you can display on your refrigerator, bulletin board, etc. If you’re more tech-savvy, there are plenty of smart phone apps that can help you plan healthy meals. If you’re on dialysis, Sanofi Renal has an IOS app that will help you track all of your nutrients and fluids. If you are living with chronic kidney disease and are trying to eat a kidney-friendly diet, the American Kidney Fund offers some helpful guidelines.
- Make it fun: Find an activity you love (walking, running, swimming, yoga, cycling, martial arts, kickboxing, etc.) and add it to your exercise schedule. It becomes much easier to motivate yourself to move with an activity you enjoy. To find some additional tips on how you can incorporate more movement into your day, visit our Living Healthy page. Make it even more fun by pairing up with a friend or family member—you’ll be able to motivate each other.
- Keep believing you can do it: You are your biggest champion. Set goals you know you can achieve, and encourage yourself along the way. Establish milestones and use rewards—a manicure/pedicure or a night at the movies, for example—to give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back as you make progress toward your goal.
Your doctor can also be a great resource to help you plan your new healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to make the most out of your next visit with your doctor.