COLUMBIA, S.C. — Walking twenty minutes a day, eating healthy, losing a little or a lot of weight or just be happy; do any of these statements resonate with you?
According to numerous surveys, many people set the same ambitious health goals at the beginning of every new year.
Columbia residents, Jennifer Sexton, Melba Allard, Carl Parrott and Timothy Brand admit these goals have actually been on their list for more than one year. “And the year before that, and maybe the year before that,” shares Timothy Brand.
The reality is, the success rates for annual health goals are not inspirational. In fact according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions actually keep their resolutions. That means over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail.
Why do the majority of people fall short or give up their desire for better health?
Carl Parrott says he did not have enough accountability. Lexington Family Practice physician, Doctor Kelli Savia, D.O., believes that is one piece of the puzzle, “There are many factors, but I think most people set their sights too high and lack support,” explains Savia.
How can you improve your odds of meeting health goals?
Step one, break it down.
Savia breaks down the process that she shares with her patients, her advice, “I think the easiest way to make something achievable is to make it in little bits and make small goals that will ultimately end up in large change.” She says whether your goal is to lose weight or achieve better restorative sleep, there are metrics like measuring inches and hours to assess change and can make someone feel more successful.
Step two, know your “why”.
Doctor Savia goes on to explain why being clear about your personal reason for health is important, “Knowing “why” you want better health, relationships, joy and change can give you the motivation, and ultimately the discipline to keep that goal in mind and develop and keep habits going the entire twelve months and beyond.”
Melba Allard knows why health is at the top of her list, “I would like to live to be one hundred as my dad did and be around to see all the great and grand kids get older.” Overall Allard says she is on tract, “I think I'm doing pretty good so far, it’s early in the year.”
What is Allard’s secret to success?
She sums it up with a number of things, “I have great physicians, I have a family, I have a great job, overall I am very very happy.”
Doctor Savia goes on to explain how you can also pull your doctor into your plan and turn to your health care provider for help. “I think we are somewhat underutilized as an accountability partner and can be used as an adjunct with a personal trainer or family member, but none the less you have to establish a support system because change is hard, shares Savia.
Doctor Savia encourages her patients to check in more often and at their own discretion, “I give them tips on how to continue, break a plateau or motivate them in one direction or another,”. She goes on to explain how a check-up can make a difference, “There are things that we can do in your annual physical that can determine if that change has made any difference to your health including cholesterol or fasting sugar.”
Last, put it on paper.
Writing down your plan and measurable goals like going to bed earlier and going to bed earlier to exercise can also help. Savia stresses the importance of consistency, patience and discipline, “Change definitely takes several weeks, and you are going to have triggers, everyone has triggers, and a lot of people treat New Year’s resolutions as a sprint rather that a marathon, but it really is a marathon.”
Don’t give up.
Doctor Savia says it’s not too late , even if you have lost your passion for your sneakers, treadmill and cooking vegetables , “ No matter what you did yesterday or even today, you still have an opportunity to change your choice at the next meal, day or week.
Jennifer Sexton is dedicated and determined this year, but last year was a different story. It was not until she sought out the accountability of a course tailored to making better behavior and choices, her advice, “Treat yourself like a local celebrity, give yourself a pat on the back and do something kind for yourself.” That was one remedy to kick-start her situation.
Timothy Brandt is counting on both his family and friends to keep him on track this year. Pointing to his buddy Carl Parrott saying, “I have accountability right here, its wonderful,” shares Brand. They are both up for the challenge of better health and stress the importance of finding a nonjudgmental support system. Brandt’s advice is to persevere, “Pick yourself back up, sometimes in life we all need a do over, no matter where and when you start.”
Doctor Savia encourages people to take action the moment they feel inspired. If you are ready to take the first step, doctor Savia at Lexington Family Practice is accepting new patients. She says her team is dedicated to preventing and treating illness and willing to help you navigate your health and goals. “I am your cheerleader without the cheer-leading costume, and can generally book new patients within a month,” says Savia.