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Clinical Corner: Viva La Resolution!

A cup of coffee and notepad on white wooden table.

By Phil Niles, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

It’s nearly a new year and many of us will soon be seeking paths that lead to self-improvement through resolutions. Lose all the weight! Write a book! Learn to play the guitar and become a STAR!

A new year brings hope for positive change and the drive to get started. I feel this hope and drive at the end of each year, yet almost every new year I abandon my goal in the first month and don’t follow through — and I’m not alone. Statistically, one in two people will make a New Year’s resolution at the start of 2019, but only one in 10 will succeed at upholding their resolution for at least a year. 

My past resolutions have included learning to play the guitar, speaking fluent Spanish, getting out of debt, and, of course, the ol’ tried and true lose weight and get fit.  Unfortunately, I am not a world-famous guitarist (but I now own two cool guitars), I speak only broken, butchered Spanish — finding myself asking for a goat with fancy socks when I wanted a burger with fries, and I also continue to have a fan club of creditors that check in on me monthly.

However, in 2018 I did make a resolution to get to the gym on the regular. At the time, I was fairly active but only sporadically and it involved mountain biking chased by a couple beers afterwards. My initial goal in 2018 was to leave work at lunch, go to the gym, and walk on the treadmill every day. To my great surprise, I kept it up! I even started mixing in running intervals with the Couch To 10K app, and soon I was running more than walking.

Then I started talking to a trainer at the gym.  He asked me what my goals were, and I realistically replied, “To build enough strength to carry in groceries for my wife without groaning. She would be so impressed with my incredible ability!” We high-fived and came up with a plan to achieve this. At first, I thought he was trying to find ways to keep my body in a continual state of pain and suffering, but I stuck with it and slowly saw improvement and positive change. That was eight months ago. 

Now, I’m not the perfect example of how to create positive change, but as we’re all creating our 2019 resolutions, I want to share some tips with you on how I stuck with my resolution and met my goals — because I know you can do it too! 

Don’t try to climb the tallest mountain on day one. 

The most important advice I can give is to start with a goal that’s modest and attainable. Start by forming a habit that you can easily repeat week to week. I started by going to the gym and walking the treadmill at lunch four times a week. Some weeks I went all five workdays, some I only made it twice, and I was OK with that. The main thing was that I was going! It’s said that you need to continue a new activity for at least two weeks solid to make it a habit. I laid this groundwork and then when I felt ready built on that habit and set new goals. 

Turn frustration into motivation.

Everything did not go perfectly. I had setbacks, like pulled muscles, illness, and the unpredictability of life. But I made a point not to get discouraged or frustrated. I picked up where I left off and even took a step back to be sure I didn’t overdo anything. I also did not weigh myself often or diligently document weight training progress. I would hop on the scale every month or so, but I didn’t use this as the only measure of success or failure. Remember, this is about positive change, not just losing weight or getting stronger — it is about feeling better! Milestones are important to monitor, but they do not define your success. 

Be flexible. 

So, let’s say you didn’t get through your workout this week … END OF THE WORLD! WHY AM I EVEN TRYING? LIGHT ALL THE THINGS ON FIRE! Life is not always going to cooperate with your plans. Accept that this will happen and roll with the punches.  Incorporate whatever is blocking you into a challenge and make new goals. Always remember that YOU are in charge of what happens to you, not a hard workout, not discouraging remarks from others. Value yourself and be proud of what you have done to improve your life. To channel the wise, wonderful Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Make that change and have a great 2019!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Sarah Wengert, a creative content writer for the amazing Medical Solutions based in Omaha, Nebraska. While I'm not a Travel Nurse, I love to travel and I truly appreciate the hard, important work that nurses do. I'm very happy to represent a company that cares so much about its people. Thanks for reading!

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