BILLINGS – Many of us start the new year with new goals, but once the initial excitement wears off, it can be difficult to stick to New Year’s resolutions.
“The biggest mistake is wanting to jump all in,” said Anna Kasperick, a registered dietitian and personal trainer at Billings Clinic. “The biggest thing they need to do is simply what they want to do to meet that goal.:
Kasperick said an example is weight loss, the most common New Years resolution. She said instead of making the goal of losing weight, people should be thinking of the actions it will take to get there, like drinking more water, getting more sleep, or taking daily walks.
They call it setting “SMART” goals. That stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.
Mary Pike, a clinical social worker at Billings Clinic, said it is important to take your life into account when making goals.
She said if you work a full-time job, and have little kids at home, it is probably not a realistic goal to go to the gym for an hour, five days a week. But taking a daily walk, drinking more water, and getting to the gym 2-3 times a week is more doable.
Pike said that people who don’t practice a lot of self care, are often care-givers, meaning they are the ones who put others before themselves while putting their own care on the back burner.
“They set a very reasonable goal of taking the walk,” said Pike. “However, somebody calls and needs help and the first thing you do is give up the walk.”
She said treating your self care as if it were a doctor’s appointment can help you stick to it.
“If it was a doctor’s appointment hopefully you wouldn’t [skip it],” said Pike. “So I’ll talk with people a lot of times about viewing their goals – walking, eating healthier – as a doctor’s appointment and you wouldn’t skip it.”
Pike said when it comes to your health, whether it be physical or mental, it is okay to be a little selfish.