Resolve to keep New Year’s resolutions | RecordCourier.com

Resolve to keep New Year’s resolutions

by Caryn Haller
challer@recordcourier.com

Every Jan. 1, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions and by the middle of February, it’s back to business as usual. However, according to some experts, the key to keeping those resolutions is all about setting clear goals that are easy to stick with.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking and saving money.

To find areas where you are spending money frivolously, Edward Jones financial advisor Andy Rice suggested carrying a notebook and writing down everything you spend every day for a month.

“Even if it’s a pack of gum, write it down,” he said. “A lot of people spend money on just stuff.”

Rice also suggested setting a goal of saving money for something that means a lot to you, then every month put a set amount of money into savings just like it was a bill that needed to be paid.

“A lot of people do it backwards. People who are savers put money into savings first,” he said.

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An easy way to accomplish this is to set up an automatic transfer every month from your checking account into a savings account.

“Set a goal for yourself of something that means a lot to you and work toward that goal by doing the financial steps to move you toward that goal,” he said. “Writing down your goal and reading it on a daily basis can be huge. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you reach your goal.”

For more information on financial planning, call Rice at 782-8280.

Perhaps the most difficult resolution to keep, and one that usually takes multiple attempts to achieve, is quitting smoking.

Shannon Cridebring, respiratory manager at Carson Valley Medical Center, offered tips on how to be successful this year.

“One of the keys to quitting is you have to figure out what triggers you to want to smoke, and avoid those things,” she said. “Quitting smoking is not easy. It takes a few times before you can quit completely, so don’t get discouraged.”

Carson Valley Medical Center offers seven-week classes to help people discover their triggers and use all the tools available to be successful.

Some tools people use are nicotine gum and patches, exercise and talking with their doctor about prescription drugs that can help.

“It’s also important to set a quit date and prepare yourself for it,” Cridebring said. “That way you have more of a chance of succeeding.”

The next class is in February, but if you want to get a head start visit http://www.lungusa.org for online tools. To sign up for the class call 782-1626.

Losing and keeping off those holiday pounds is another common resolution that quickly falls by the wayside.

Annie Lindsay, exercise physiologist for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, said it is better to adopt healthy behavior than setting a specific weight-loss goal.

“If you focus on changes in behavior, you will get results,” Lindsay said. “If you focus on results, you may never change.”

If you are new to exercise, Lindsay said one key to success is to develop an enjoyable routine. If you hate getting up at 5 a.m. to exercise in the dark, then choose another time of day you’ll like better.

“If you’re going to exercise, it has to be something you enjoy,” she said. “Otherwise, you’ll just quit doing it.”

Federal guidelines recommend doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week. But if you those levels aren’t achievable for you, Lindsay recommended setting a lower goal because making the habit stick should be the primary goal.

“Setting achievable goals simply means choosing the number of days and minutes you absolutely know you can do,” she said. “It may only be 45 minutes a week (15 minutes on 3 days) or maybe just 30 (10 minutes on 3 days). It doesn’t matter the number. If you know you can do it, it’s a good plan.”

For more information, check out Lindsay’s publication “Get Regular” at http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/hn/2010/fs1079.pdf.