Setting New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored tradition symbolizing hope, ambition, and the pursuit of self-improvement. Yet, as the weeks and months unfold, many of us find it challenging to maintain the enthusiasm and dedication required to see our resolutions through. In fact, surveys suggest that only seven percent of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t let past New Year’s resolutions stop you from accomplishing your goals. Discover some simple and effective ways to help keep your resolutions.
Tips to stick to your New Year’s resolutions
No matter what your resolutions are for the upcoming year, it’s important to take steps now that will help you succeed.
Set goals and plan in advance: Select goals that are realistic, specific, and achievable. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, set a goal of losing 20 pounds. Specific goals make it easier to track progress. Additionally, taking the time to make a detailed plan that includes things like how you will react when an obstacle arises and the reasons you want to accomplish the goal will make it easier to do so.
Focus on small steps: Rather than taking on numerous New Year’s resolutions at once, try to focus on making small and sustainable steps to reach each goal. If you’ve never been a gym-goer, start by committing to go once or twice a week instead of every day. Focusing on small changes increases the likelihood that you will stick to your goals and be successful in the long-term.
Find support: Tell your friends and family about your resolution so they can encourage and support you. Better yet, find someone who has similar goals and work together to share the successes and struggles.
If you can’t find the support you need to accomplish your New Year’s resolutions, consider seeking professional help. The American Psychological Association recommends reaching out to a psychologist as they “are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.”
Adapt as needed: Remember that long-term goals aren’t accomplished overnight. Setbacks happen, but that doesn’t mean failure. When these setbacks occur, use them as an opportunity to reevaluate your strategies and make changes to your plan as needed. The ability to adapt to changes and challenges will make it easier to succeed at your New Year’s resolutions.
Improving oral health as a New Year’s resolution
If you haven’t already decided on a New Year’s resolution for next year, consider focusing on improving your oral health.
According to a survey from Forbes Health, only nine percent of people plan to prioritize their oral health in the upcoming year. In contrast, 50 percent of those surveyed said they will focus on their physical health, and 40 percent plan to prioritize their mental health.
Although improving your oral health might not be high on your list of New Year’s resolutions, a healthy mouth is important for both your overall and mental health.
Simple ways to improve your oral health in the new year
Examine your current oral health routine: Are you brushing and flossing your teeth correctly? If not, it’s time to update your oral health care routine. Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day with an ADA-approved toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Additionally, flossing once a day helps clean parts of your teeth and mouth that a toothbrush cannot reach.
Be mindful of your diet: If healthy eating fell off during the holiday season, now is the time to get back on track. Small changes, like limiting snacking throughout the day or focusing on eating nutritious foods that are good for your teeth, can help improve your oral health during the year.
Limit alcohol and quit tobacco: Many people overindulge in alcohol during the holiday season. This overindulgence may lead to problems with their teeth. According to Penn Dental Medicine, “Many cocktails and alcopops use sugary mixers that can coat your teeth’s surface, leading to tooth decay over time. And beer, red wine and white wine, and cider all contain acid that will slowly dissolve enamel, leading to sensitivity or pain.” As the new year begins, focus on reducing the amount of alcohol you consume to protect your oral health.
Pro tip: If you treat yourself to alcoholic beverages, remember to wash out your mouth with a glass of water to remove any sugar left on the teeth.
If you’re using tobacco products, now is the time to quit. Tobacco products also damage your oral health and can lead to long-term overall health problems, such as oral cancer. Click here for the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline.
Go to dental appointments: A good oral health routine and a nutritious diet play a huge role in keeping your teeth healthy, but that doesn’t mean you can skip dental visits. The dentist can clean areas in your mouth that a toothbrush or floss cannot reach, plus they can detect serious medical conditions such as diabetes and oral cancer. Going to preventive dental check-ups and cleanings are a major step you can take to improve your oral health in the new year.
Oral health is important all year
Whether you’re partaking in New Year’s resolutions or not, improving your oral health care is a goal that is important any time of year.
Discover why oral health is important in “My Preventive Dental Care Options”.