Successful Resolutions in Four Easy Steps

Article also appeared in Antigo Daily Journal/Journal Express Health and Fitness, January 23, 2017

by Karen Hegranes, BSN, MSN, Health Officer

We have arrived in 2017 and have high hopes that this year the resolutions talked about in December will become a reality in the next few months. According to Dr. J.C. Norcross, PhD, clinical professor at the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, 40% of Americans will actually declare a resolution to make a change in the New Year. A Harris interactive poll of more than 3,000 adults found that the top five resolutions were: weight loss, improved finances, exercise, getting a new job, and healthier eating.

How can we be sure we are starting off on the right foot with our resolution? Dr. Norcross has written the book on successful resolutions called, “Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.” His research tracking people who are successful resolvers starts at the beginning of the year with their plan.

  1. First, develop a specific action plan. Example: I am going to increase my physical activity in 2017. Then look at what you are planning to do differently to actually incorporate more physical activity in your day. I will walk five times a week for 30 minutes, either outside or on the treadmill. Have an alternative healthy choice. I can substitute water aerobics or shorter 10-minute walks throughout the day.
  2. Secondly, those who are successful establish their confidence level that they can keep the resolution, even if they have an occasional slip up. On a scale of 1 to 10 their confidence should be at least 8 or 9 to be truly committed to their goal. High confidence is a strong predictor, according to Dr. Norcross, of who’s going to succeed with their resolution.
  3. The third secret ingredient of success is to publicly declare your resolution. People who use Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram are constantly seeing others declare their plan to lose weight and even will show before and after photos. By telling other people in your circle of friends or family, you can be held accountable for your success. Public commitments are typically more effective than private declarations.
  4. The fourth step is to reflect if you have selected a realistic, attainable goal. If you know that you already walk 30 minutes three times a week and you know that the dog would really like a nice walk five times a week, then you probably are being realistic with this goal. However, if you barely get a walk in once a week now, you might want to reconsider the quantity to a more realistic three times a week. You will be more satisfied if you can obtain and go beyond your goal than if you select an activity level that is not realistic.

So if you have been enjoying the holiday treats and are already dreading what shorts and swimsuits might look like in a few months, take this opportunity to put these four easy steps into motion toward a successful, healthy resolution. Whether you exercise inside or out, get moving and enjoy our community and Mother Nature offers.

For more information on health, check our webpage – – or call the health department at 715-627-6250.

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