How can I make healthy changes in the new year, and have them last this time?

Dr Leisa

Good question. It’s really just a matter of timing and priorities. That’s pretty simple. There are also a few other easy tips you can use to make these changes last for good. It seems that people fail when they try to do too much at once, or are trying to make changes that just aren’t important to them. Sometimes these changes are so overwhelming to even think about without stressing over them, that some people don’t even start. Let’s try and make at least one change this year that lasts this time.

Let’s talk about priorities first. A lot of people attempt to make changes to please someone else. Whether that’s a friend, family member, or even their doctor. With any changes you make any time of the year, they should be because you want to make the change for you. The good news about trying to make changes other people recommend, is that in most cases it’s in your best interest and good for you. They care about you. It just makes it difficult when they are trying to convince you and you’re just not getting it. Going through the motions rarely works when it comes to making positive health changes in your life. I find that it’s easiest when you put the changes you want to make into priority from highest to lowest. And remember, they have to be your priorities. You know what your priorities are, and it helps to write them down. Yes they may change as time goes on, that’s okay. Try starting with three. It’s pretty easy to prioritize three things you want to change. Another tip, is to not have all three or even two of the three to be major lifestyle changes. That becomes overwhelming pretty quickly. If one of them is a major change, keep it at that. The other two should be minor changes. If that one change is that difficult, some people should stick with only that one. Please remember to be honest with yourself. And always remember to do these things for you. When you put anything that you want into priorities that are important to you, it’ll be easier to make than if you did not.

So now you have three changes you want to make all in priority according to what you want. The next thing to do, is set a shorter timeline. Rather than thinking that you will have to do these every day for the rest of your life, use the old 12 steps saying, “One day at a time”. Just make it through the first day making those changes. Sometimes if they’re big ones like quitting smoking or alcohol, some people even take it one hour at a time. So be it, if that’s what you have to do. Tomorrow is another day and you can do the same thing. For the easier ones, try taking it one week at a time or making that change until a special day or holiday coming up. Many people break the rules on those days. The thing you must do is to decide exactly how long those rules will be broken, if at all. Will it be only for that day, or that weekend, or that week during vacation etc.? In order to follow through with these changes, decide when you’ll get right back on track and stick to that. When people don’t set a time to break a rule, they rarely if ever, get back on track.
The next big challenge many set up for themselves, is the timing. If you are in the middle of the holidays, and are trying to make a big change, that could be a set up for failure. Think about days coming up that may be more difficult. Either wait until those days have passed and then start, or have a plan for what you’re going to do to stay on track during those days. Just because January 1 is the first day of the year, it does not mean you have to start making your changes on that day.

Other timing issues are time of day. Usually it’s easier to start the day out making changes for the better. As the day goes on and you become more tired it’s easier to give in. As I said earlier, go hour to hour if that’s what you need to do. Also plan ahead for what you are going to be doing if you become more tired toward the end of the day and how you are going to stay on track. Plan ahead for the next day. Look at your day ahead and see what challenges might arise. Ask people for help, and try and associate more with those who are supporting you. After all, how many times can you keep looking the other way when everyone else is doing something that’s going against your goals? Sometimes it’s easier to just step back and focus on yourself before hanging out with those who may be going in a different direction. As you get stronger, that will become easier.

Let’s make this new year better than last year. It all starts with ourselves. Small changes can make a big difference when they come from within. Whether they are New Year’s resolutions or things you want to change ‘just because’. This time will be different.
I hope this helps with making your changes work for you. If you’d like help to see which changes make the most sense for your health, please call my office for an appointment.

For any questions regarding my articles, please email me at
Leisa-Marie Grgula, D.C.
Chiropractic Physician
Accurate Care Medical Wellness Center
18261 N. Pima Rd. Suite 115
Scottsdale, AZ 85255