Making Healthy Resolutions

Be true to you when deciding what you will change.

Melissa Conrad StopplerBy Melissa Conrad Stoppler, M.D.


Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!

December 2005 —Whether it's exercising more, losing weight, or quitting smoking, many people say that their New Year's resolutions involve improvements in health and well-being. Unfortunately, many resolutions seem to fail before spring arrives. I'm going to try for some manageable resolutions this year – maintaining my exercise routine and being more diligent about checking my blood glucose levels. If you're concerned about being able to keep your New Year's resolutions this year, some simple steps can help you set practical – and attainable – goals.


First, don't abandon the idea of setting resolutions because you have broken them in the past. You may need to simply readjust the type and number of goals you're setting for yourself. But do be realistic. A resolution to run a marathon by year's end is likely unrealistic for an inexperienced exerciser. Likewise, resolving to stop all your unhealthy habits at once is likely to fail. Pick an attainable goal with a realistic time frame.

Making too many resolutions can mean trouble. There's no rule that you have to cover all areas you'd like to change in your resolutions. Pick one or two themes – such as anger management, stress control, healthy eating, smoking cessation, fitness improvement, career advancement – that are most important to you, and set reachable goals within these areas.

You're also setting yourself up for failure if you set resolutions whose success is based upon factors beyond your control. Saying, "I resolve to have a new job by summer" depends not only upon your own initiative, but also upon external factors (the economy, the job market in your field) over which you have no control. Instead, tell yourself, "I resolve to have updated my resume and sent it out to X companies by summer." That way, the success of your resolution is entirely within your control.

Decide on some intermediate goals if it helps you maintain control. Ask yourself where you'd like to be in three or six months, and check yourself then. Achieving these smaller goals also gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation for the bigger projects. Include a plan for a reward for yourself when the resolutions – or intermediate goals – are met.

Finally, and most importantly, choose your resolutions based upon your own wishes, desires, goals, and dreams, and not those of society or those persons close to you. While this seems obvious, many people waste time trying to meet society's – or another person's – expectations. A resolution is bound to fail if it isn't from your heart.

Read more of Melissa's columns here.


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: May 24, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
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