Newswise — WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2015)—New Year’s resolutions are conceived with the best intentions: to make this year better than the last. Many of these resolutions are related to health – eating better, exercising, quitting smoking or losing weight – and are often forgotten by Valentine’s Day. Nancy Rudner, George Washington University School of Nursing adjunct professor and an expert on workplace health and stages of change, offers ways to stick to those resolutions throughout the year.

“Change comes in phases. You have to resolve your ambivalence, such as, ‘I want to lose weight and I love dessert,’ ” Dr. Rudner said. “Once you resolve that you want to make the change you need a realistic plan to make it happen. Everyone tries to keep resolutions, but it’s hard to stick with them. Preparation, guidance and a plan for accountability helps people stay on track. People need guidance on how to make these changes permanent.”

To keep the resolutions lasting through 2015 and beyond, Dr. Rudner makes the following suggestions:

1. Make the resolutions a routine part of your life. Instead of getting to the gym when you have free time, schedule it for three days a week at the same time. 2. Plan how to make the changes. Mapping out how you will make these changes will help you keep on track, especially on days where you’re tempted to revert back to your old ways. If you are walking, you need a rainy day strategy. Or when your friend invites you for a drink, you can be prepared to have seltzer with a lime—if you think out the potential pitfalls. 3. Make the experience fun and enjoyable. Get yourself some fun workout clothes, add a book on tape to your routine, walk with friends or make your healthy meal special with a pretty placemat and candles. 4. Hold yourself accountable: write down the resolutions. It’s one thing to think them and another to see them written out. Write out your resolutions and put them somewhere you will see every days as a reminder of what you are doing. Use an app to track your progress. 5. Be sure to reward yourself. Save the money you would have spent on cigarettes and use it for something else you enjoy, such as a nice dinner or a weekend away. Each day you don’t smoke, you can put your tobacco money in the jar with a picture of your reward. 6. Make your workplace a healthy place. Consider the pitfalls at work and recruit your coworkers to make healthy changes with you. If you are a manager, consider what you can do to have a healthy work team.

While the changes may be difficult to keep up in the beginning, Dr. Rudner suggests committing to the resolutions for six weeks. “If you do it for six weeks, you are likely to own it and make it part of your life. If you slip up, no big deal, you can get back on track because you are in charge,” Dr. Rudner said.

Dr. Rudner is available for media interviews. Interested reporters must contact Emily Grebenstein at [email protected] or (202) 994-3087 to schedule. Please note: Dr. Rudner is fluent in Spanish.  The George Washington University School of NursingRanked in the top 10 percent of nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report, the George Washington University School of Nursing educates and inspires nurses to provide high-quality, compassionate person-centered health care. The school develops leaders actively engaged in health promotion, patient advocacy and healthcare innovation, and prepares exceptional nurse educators who pursue quality and advance the profession. The School of Nursing is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people and communities locally, nationally and globally. The school values lifelong learning and its students advance nursing practice, leadership and education as they make a difference in the world.


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