Health Team

UNC doctor suggests SMART ways to stick to resolutions

Posted January 2, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— The coming of a new year often makes people re-think their lives and health. Though most people resolve to do better, the best intentions often fail along the way.

Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz, an anxiety disorders expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says many people set lofty goals, then fall into what's called the Abstinence Violation Effect.

“What often folks will do is they'll say, 'Oh, the heck with it. I've already broken the resolution. I might as well just forget about it,’” he said.

New Year's resolutions 1/2/09 Suggestions to keep that new year's resolution

Abramowitz recommends trying SMART – setting Specific goals, Measurable goals that are Attainable, Realistic and can be met in a reasonable amount of Time.

”Instead of saying, 'This whole year, I'm going to lose 30 pounds,’ be more specific and say well, I'm going to lose 5 pounds a month,” he said.

A healthy weight loss goal is about 1 to 2 pounds per week. It should be done with a balanced diet and regular physical activity. The government has more information on healthy weight loss.

“The new year is a time that we look at as being a time to turn the page, so why not try to do something about something that we don't like? It's also an opportunity for us to feel better about ourselves," Abramowitz said.

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  • nttnana Jan 5, 2009

    I see that you are a Dr. of anxiety disorders.I am 61 years young and am disabled due to a spinal chord injury, plus have many other health issues.I am normally a happy person.I am taking Zoloft for anxiety,and Vailum 5mg a day to relax my legs so I can walk easier.
    I have and always have had a feeling of severe loneliness,and Is this all there is? feeling.I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful healthy family,and no reason to feel this way. Can you please tell me how to relieve this feeling? Is this a normal feeling? I would like to feel normal for once in my life.
    Do any of your readers have this problem? Thank you for reading.