'Readiness to change' is key ingredient for New Year's resolutions

A new research has revealed that readiness to change is a vital facet to committing to New Year's resolutions.

Washington: A new research has revealed that readiness to change is a vital facet to committing to New Year's resolutions.

Researchers at University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that according to the United States government, about half of the most popular resolutions made each year are health-related, in addition to losing weight and quitting smoking, they include eating healthier foods, getting fit, managing stress and drinking less alcohol.

Meg Baker, director of UAB Employee Wellness, said that while the focus on self-improvement is good, an individual must be ready to make a change in order to actually do so.

Baker added that the readiness to change is a big factor and based on the stages of change model: precontemplation (unwilling to make a change), contemplation (considering lifestyle change) and action, you have to want to change your lifestyle to successfully improve your health.

Baker also offered some tips to help prepare for any lifestyle change, like, develop realistic small, short-term goals that will fit into your schedule; these should be, consider the benefits and reasons for the change and talk to a family member, friend or co-worker about goals; this accountability will increase the likelihood of your staying committed to a new gym regimen or smoking cessation plan, and they may want to join you.

Additionally, Baker says, many companies want to see their employees thrive, so they will offer incentives to help them improve their health, like the My Health Rewards program they are starting at UAB and so you should talk to your supervisor or human resources representative to find out if a program is available to you.

Baker added that whether it is to boost your energy level, improve mood, combat health conditions and disease, or to be there for your kids' future, there's always a reason that a resolution was made and so when the going gets tough, remind yourself of why you're making a lifestyle change, and this will keep you motivated.

If the new behavior has lost its luster, switch things up as variety is the key to life and can keep you from getting burned out, Baker said.