New Year’s Resolution #1: Setting Reasonable Expectations to Take Steps to Better Health

New Year’s Day is this Friday, can you believe it? Maybe you can believe it with the cold front overtaking much of Missouri this week. With winter now thoroughly upon us, and the lethargy of Christmas dinner lifting like fog, there may be no better time than now to reflect on the year gone by and contemplate the one yet to come… And for many of us, that means making New Year’s resolutions.

Making New Year’s resolutions usually inspires optimism and positive improvement, whether that’s giving up some comfort foods for a healthier diet; building your stamina with a more consistent exercise routine; joining a library book club for socializing and pleasure; or just waking up earlier to make a little more out of each day. While personal expectations can overwhelm us if our goals start to exceed our abilities, the slight pressure from setting more modest, achievable goals can give us just the push we need to follow through on them. The impulse to accomplish something you’ve never done before is hard to resist. On the other hand, falling short can feel like a bigger “failure” than pursuing more specific or obtainable (if less glamorous) goals.

Setting expectations is always a balancing act. To help keep your resolutions in balance, you might pause and take note of some of the good habits you already have. Maybe you never miss a meal or you consistently get up and move your body between TV shows or you take regular walks with a friend (of the two or four-legged kind). Perhaps you like to check for the latest Steps to Better Health classes – not a bad idea, if we may say so! Now having recalled those positive things that you already do, you can probably think of some specific ways to expand them. If you’re coming up short or you’re seeking more structure and variety, consider taking a look at some of our classes and ‘do-it-yourself’ resources.

Meanwhile, there’s no reason to give up on larger ambitions you may have in mind. Still, knocking out some lower hanging fruit before tackling The Big One has its own merits and rewards, including building up physical capacity and self-confidence to take the next Step to Better Health. Good luck!

Follow Missouri Regional Arthritis Centers

Scroll to Top