Nearly half of American’s who make a New Year’s Resolution make one to get in better shape. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Nearly half of American’s who make a New Year’s Resolution make one to get in better shape. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – According to Statistic Brain around 44 percent of the American population makes a New Year’s Resolution each year. Nearly half, 21.4 percent, of those people make a resolution to lose weight or eat healthier, but after six months into the new year, most give up their resolution and fall into old habits.

One reason this happens, says Anne Dunn Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Van Wert County Hospital, is because people don’t make realistic goals for themselves. Dunn said the first thing people should do is make sure that what they choose as a resolution is a realistic resolution.

“We have this picture in our head of what the perfect person would do and it’s not reality,” said Dunn. “It wouldn’t be realistic to set a goal that I’m going to suddenly start working out five days a week for an hour at a time when I work 12 hour days.”

Celebrating little wins can help a person stay motivated, said Dunn. For instance, cutting down a pop a day for someone that is a heavy pop drinker can make a difference in the long run. Making small replacements in one’s regular habits can make a large difference. Rather than a candy bar for a snack, Dunn suggests carrots or a healthier snack.

“If you are not physically active and it’s something you want to be able to do, you can start with as simple as 10 minutes [of exercise] out of the day,” said Dunn. “It adds up over time. If I start with 10 minutes of exercises a day and that becomes easy to work into my schedule, it becomes a habit and then it becomes 15 minutes a day. Every little bit helps.”

Dunn noted that those who work at a seated job can make a big impact on their lives just by getting up and walking around for 5 to 10 minutes every hour.

“You have to look at what your current lifestyle is and figure out what is realistic and what works for you,” said Dunn. “You have to also find something that you actually enjoy.”

Finding a routine will be different for everyone. There is no one solution that fits all. Dunn explained that in order to make a resolution stick, people need to want to make the change for themselves and need to have a reason to stick with it.

“For some people, it might be that they are tired of being tired,” said Dunn. “For other people, it might be a health issue; maybe they are struggling with diabetes, or heart disease, or maybe it’s high blood pressure, or a weight issue. What is your reason? What does it mean to you?”

Nationally, the acceptable and healthy amount of weight a person should expect to lose a week is a half a pound to two pounds. Dunn noted that it’s not realistic to expect to lose 20 to 30 pounds in a month, and having that expectation and not meeting it can set people up for disappointments.

Another health tip Dunn provides is drinking plenty of water.

“You should be drinking about half of your weight in ounces in water a day,” said Dunn, noting that water aids in weight loss and keeps a person hydrated.

Overall, one of the biggest tips Dunn suggests to help people stay on track with their New Year’s Resolution is to have a support group.

“You need to surround yourself with other people who are going through a journey similar as you,” said Dunn. “You can support each other and lift each other up, and you can be purposeful about celebrating your wins. Even if you are introverted, having someone there to pick you up to have that accountability and that support can make a world of difference.”