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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

New Year's resolutions and diabetes   (December 28, 2007)

Part of the tradition for the holiday season is celebrating the New Year: partying on New Year's eve, visiting family or watching football on New Year's day, and then getting back to work on the-day-after-New-Year's-Day. And, of course, deciding whether to make some New Year's resolutions.

Personally, I gave up making New Year's resolutions years ago, as I never found it possible to keep them for even a day. Maybe it was the nature of the resolutions I made. So I went merrily Googling today in search of what's published about NYR and diabetes. Some of what I found seemed hilarious; for instance, there's a discussion of setting New Years Goals For Pets (which actually has some pretty good advice). And a NYR of a healthy lifestyle made easier with Perdue Perfect Portions.

There were lots of more sobering suggestions for NYRs:

  • Exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Get your affairs in order
  • Lose weight (and, more specifically, "to lose five pounds")
  • Getting out of debt
  • To get healthy (how about that for vagueness!)
  • To stay as positive as possible about everything

Anyhow, if you are serious about setting a NYR, I've got some advice: make your NYR in the form of a SMART goal. That is, the NYR should be

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.
Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
Attainable: Set a goal that is within reach: do you have the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach the goal?
Realistic: A goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing -- and able -- to work.
Timely: A time frame should be specified in which to accomplish the goal.

So, let's go back to one of the goals I mentioned before: Exercise. The NYR should not be "to exercise", but it should be "to increase my exercise level by the beginning of July, 2008, by walking with my dogs at least a mile a day on at least four days of the week."

Hmmm. Sounds like that's a goal that I can accomplish. Maybe this year, I will set a NYR after all!

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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