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Be realistic with New Year’s health resolutions

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 5, 2022

By Jason Howland Mayo Clinic News Network

Getting in better shape is consistently one of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make each year, but many have a hard time following through. Dani Johnson, a wellness physical therapist with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, offers tips to make it easier to stick to a resolution to get in shape.

Most people have done it at least once. They make a New Year’s resolution to get in better shape, but give up after a few days or weeks.

Johnson says there are a few things you can do to increase your odds of making good on that resolution.

“Making sure that you start with a really realistic goal,” Johnson says, is the first step, “then really thinking about what do you enjoy.”

Johnson says one of the first hurdles that trips a lot of people up is forcing themselves to do exercises they hate.

“(Start) looking at some new goals that you can be excited about,” she says. “Exercise should not be drudgery. Exercise should be fun.”

Johnson says it’s also important to be realistic about your time commitment.

“Maybe you only have 20, 30 minutes three days a week,” she says. “Start from a place where we can build success. You can always add more.”

But above all else, she says, be honest with yourself about what you can stick to. If it’s not a feasible goal, your chances of achieving it drop drastically.

“So having realistic, healthy expectations can be a really good way to move forward in a very successful physical activity plan.”

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