How to Make Resolutions You Can Keep and Make 2020 Your Healthiest Year Yet

December 20, 2019
New Years Resolutions

As the end of the year approaches, you may start thinking about making a New Year’s resolution. Did you know that only 8% of people actually achieve their goals for the new year? In fact, most people don’t even make it past January 17th without quitting.

Part of the problem is that we make big, challenging goals for ourselves that may be unattainable without causing ourselves a lot of stress.

This year, New Hanover Regional Medical Center asked some of our health experts for some tips related to the 5 most common resolutions to help you set a realistic goal and stick with it through 2020 and beyond.

Resolution #1: Increase Wellness
Holly Konrady, Stress Management Specialist, Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation

  • Get in touch with your stress level and work to reduce it.
  • Set aside some device-free time to practice deep breathing and relaxation.
  • Don’t judge yourself or set incredibly high expectations for yourself.
  • Focus on changing how your respond to circumstances.
  • Practice breathing to calm yourself and help combat chronic stress. There are many resources that can help you with relaxation and meditation such as apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer or videos on Youtube.
  • Give yourself time to breathe, be present, and just be.

NHRMC is offering a new Lifestyle Reset program that is designed to help participants feel better, reduce, cardiovascular risk, control stress, and re-establish life balance through the practice of exercise, stress management, and healthy nutrition with help from experts. More information:

Resolution #2 Eat Healthier
Skip Allen, Clinical Outreach Dietitian

  • Remember that there is no “one size fits all” approach to healthy eating.
  • Focus on increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Don’t rush into changing all of your eating habits. Take your time and make small changes. Enjoy the benefits alone the way.
  • Instead of denying yourself certain food groups, work on eating foods that make you feel nourished after eating them.
  • If you are looking for ways to eat healthier in 2020, look no farther than The USDA resource is packed with simple tips on how to choose the right foods to start your journey.

Resolution #3: Diet to Lose Weight
Sara Parrish, Wellness Dietitian

  • Don’t fall for the latest diet trend. Instead, focus on establishing new, healthy habits.
  • Leave the dieting mindset behind and choose something that is realistic and sustainable.
  • Forget the all or nothing mentality and find a comfortable middle ground.
  • Make slow, steady changes and make those changes your new lifestyle.
  • Instead of doing something like giving up carbohydrates, try being more selective about which type of carbs you’re eating and watch your portion control.

Need some help coming up with healthy meals to make? NHRMC has hundreds of recipes available for you to try on our website here:

Resolution #4: Exercise More
Sheri Albertson, Program Coordinator the NHRMC Employee Fitness Center and a certified personal trainer

  • Take it slowly. Don’t start out with too much intensity because you will get burned out quickly.  
  • Set small, manageable goals instead of trying to do everything all at once.
  • Give yourself permission to work on goals slowly. Some habits you want to change you may have had since grade school so you can’t change them in a month’s time. Give yourself permission to change slowly and steadily.
  • Don’t expect your endurance or body to change completely in a short period of time. Find small victories that you can celebrate and try to enjoy the process.
  • Remember that weight loss is really not the most important thing. Being able to move in a way that enhances your life and allows you to do the things you enjoy doing should be your biggest goal. 

Looking for a free workout? NHRMC has partnered with Mayfaire Town Center to offer a free walking trail. The 2.8-mile loop is well lit, patrolled by security officers, and has access to public restrooms and water fountains. More information here:

Resolution #5: Quit Smoking or Vaping 
Tony Bollhorst, a respiratory therapist and COPD Navigator

  • Remember that Smoking cessation is a huge, life-changing decision. Everything that we are and everything that we have is because of a decision we once made. Make the decision to quit smoking and nothing can stop you.
  • A huge part of the challenge when it comes to quitting smoking or e-cigarettes is nicotine withdrawal. Here are some tips to help you deal with cravings:
    • Exercise: even a short walk. Instead of using nicotine to get that “feel good” response. Boost your endorphins with physical activity.
    • Use a distraction: Cravings will pass, if you give them 5 – 10 minutes. Find activities that keep your mind engaged like crossword puzzle, find a word search or a jigsaw puzzle.
    • Set up your Environment for success: Create a temptation-free home by throwing out anything that reminds you of smoking. Let your friends know you are trying to quit so they don’t bring anything around you that could trigger a craving.
    • Celebrate your accomplishments: Experts say that recognizing and celebrating accomplishments can boost resistance to stress and cravings. Each day you stay smoke-free is a victory and a testament to your strength, motivation, determination and commitment to your health and to your future.
  • quitStart is a great APP for your smartphone. It provides tips, challenges, and inspiration while quitting and also keeps a progress report on all your accomplishments. Together with a quit kit, this FREE app has all the tools and resources you need to become smoke-free.

NHRMC offers free smoking cessation classes designed to help you get the resources and support you need to help you quit. More information:

Whatever your resolution is for 2020, NHRMC is here to support you in seeking a healthier, happier future.

A big step towards a healthier life can be connecting with a primary care provider who can make sure you’re up to date on any preventative screenings, help you monitor changes in your body, and give you advice about how to achieve your health goals.

You can also get information about health resources, free exercise classes, health events, healthy recipes, articles about wellness, and more at Let’s Make Healthier Happen together in 2020! 

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