Resolutions and COVID


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Are you making New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone!

Dr. Jeff Harp from Highland Family Medicine discussed the practice of making resolutions and how they are evolving during the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“A University of Scranton study, one of the best on this topic, found that about half of us make resolutions but only about 30% are successful after 2 months and only 10% are able to keep them until the end of the year,” explained Dr. Harp. “The study found that half of the successful people had at least one slip with an average number of 14 slips. These were usually triggered by lack of self-control, excess stress, and/or negative emotion.”

Many things have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including New Year’s resolutions. “About 16% more people made resolutions, meaning 2/3 of us are participating in this tradition. According to surveys by multiple websites, self-care and mental health resolutions are most common this year, being made by about 85% of survey respondents. Health, weight loss, and exercise resolutions, usually in first place, were the second-most common resolutions, made by 2/3 respondents. And in third place, half of respondents are putting a higher priority on their relationships with family and friends.”

Dr. Harp said there are several steps you can take to try to be successful at seeing your resolution through. “Chose a relevant goal, something which will make an impact on your life now. Make sure your resolution is specific. For example, if you are working on mental or physical health, identify a specific activity which will help with that goal, like yoga or walking. Make sure your goal is realistic. Yoga works only if you have time, walking only if you have a place to do it. Create measures to track your success, such as one yoga class a week or one mile of walking a day. And find a way to be accountable, either through personally tracking yourself on by having an accountability partner. And when you stumble, remember that most of those who are successful stumble multiple times along the way. Decide not to be discouraged. Start over again the next day.”

And when it comes to COVID and resolutions, Dr. Harp said ask yourself some questions.

1. What do I want to keep from the changes I have made to cope with the pandemic? Some positives have emerged as we weather COVID – safe health and sanitation practices, for example. These are worth keeping.

2. Next, what do I want to reclaim from the pre-pandemic time? What do I miss? Exercise, social contact, art? Resolve to build that back into your routine.

3. And finally, how would I “build back better” if I were in charge of the world or my neighborhood? What positive change can emerge from the pandemic?

And remember that we are all learning, changing, and resolving together as the pandemic unfolds.

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