Health Team

UNC doctor suggests SMART ways to stick to resolutions

Posted January 2, 2009 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.