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Keep your new year's resolutions: RN gives advice on how to achieve your goals

It's the beginning of the year, a time when we make resolutions out of the dreams we have for ourselves. For many of us, those resolutions don't last. This year, how do we ensure that our goals are attainable, that we don't give up in February? B...

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It's the beginning of the year, a time when we make resolutions out of the dreams we have for ourselves. For many of us, those resolutions don't last. This year, how do we ensure that our goals are attainable, that we don't give up in February? Becky Berger, ambulatory RN care manager at Sanford Health, has some advice.

Berger works with patients who have chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. She provides education and resources and helps her patients create and reach their health goals.

She said one of the reasons resolutions fall through is that they're too large in scope.

"I would encourage them to start small ... and specific in setting their goals and not to set too many at one time," she said. "Change one behavior at a time. ... Take baby steps. That's how you're going to achieve success. Otherwise, you're going to take too big of a chunk, and you're gonna feel like you failed."

To make it more likely that you will stick to your goal, make your goals as specific as you can, and set a timeline for attainment, she said.

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"So if you do want to exercise, you need to break that down," Berger said. "How many days a week do you want to do that? How many minutes a day do you want to do that? How often are you going to do it?"

She said your goals should be individualized and honest.

"They need to make resolutions that they actually want to achieve, not because their friends are doing it," she said. "They need to be honest. ... My goals aren't going to be the same as your goals."

Your chance of success will increase if your resolution is realistic, she said.

"I think a lot of people strive for that perfection," she said. "Just strive to do your best because perfection will never be achievable. I think that's where they tend to get disappointed and discouraged, and then they quit. I think we need to remember that we've all had days where we didn't do as well as we wanted to, but that's not a failure. That's just truly a teaching moment."

She said people tend to see things in black and white, a mindset that needs to be changed.

"Either they achieved the goal or they didn't achieve it," she said. "If they wanted to lose like 10 pounds a month and they only lost five, to me that's not a failure. You still have to celebrate that success of losing five pounds.

Seek support both externally and internally. She said to find someone to support your goals, like a friend who meets you for exercise, but also be ready to be your own cheerleader. She suggested writing down your successes and taking note of progress, like marking it on your calendar when you go to the gym.

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She said of her patients, "I always tell them that it's not going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it."

Related Topics: HEALTH
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