Staying Healthy in the New Year: A Different Take on Resolutions

By Amy Crawford-Faucher, M.D.

Good health happens when the physical, emotional and social or environmental parts of our lives are in balance. The New Year gives us a built-in reality check to see how those components are working for us, and if not, some guidance for what to work toward. As a family physician, I work with patients of all ages and life stages. An important part of my job is cheerleading healthy lifestyle changes with my patients when they are ready to commit. What I have learned is that small, specific resolutions and goals are more likely to be successful.

If your physical health is not optimal, resolve to ADD something, not subtract (in the way many think of typical diets for weight loss):

Stress saps physical and emotional energy. When my patients report stress we try to identify which stressors can be changed:

Finally, resolve to contribute in some way to your community. Helping others improves your own health and wellbeing, and can take the form of formal volunteering or simply offering to visit or help a neighbor.

When people resolve to “lose weight” they are actually saying “I want to feel and look better.” These specific and holistic resolutions can help move people toward a healthier life.

Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher is a family physician at UPMC. An excerpt of this blog post appeared on CNN Health.

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