Based on national studies, it’s fairly safe to say about half of Douglas County residents make new year’s resolutions. The sobering news is, more than 90 percent of people who make a resolution related to healthier living (losing weight, quitting smoking, etc.) will be unsuccessful in keeping their healthy resolution.

At CHI Mercy Health, we believe in healthy goal setting, but not in the form of promises that are hard to keep. For example, instead of saying you want “to lose weight” a more specific goal, like “I will attend a spinning class twice a week,” is much more achievable.

If you keep that specific goal in mind, you won’t find yourself on a punishing diet, and you may feel better about yourself and find yourself losing weight as well.

It’s good to not only decide on a single area for self-improvement, but also think it through thoroughly. How will you meet a given goal? Will you attend smoking cessation classes? Have you gathered information on local yoga or meditation classes, or consulted the Umpqua Community College catalog for courses that might provide a new challenge? Are the classes at convenient times for your schedule? What do you need to get signed up?

A few more tips from experts:

  • Once you’ve picked a goal, tell people. Sharing your effort makes you accountable, adds motivation and allows others to be supportive. It may even help you out by attracting people engaged in similar efforts.
  • Break it down. Instead of deciding to lose 30 pounds this year, how about deciding to lose 10 pounds by Easter, and 10 more by Labor Day? Then you’ll see the finish line, with a better chance of getting rid of the last 10.
  • Keep a journal of your progress so you can look back and see what you can do better.
  • If you fall, get back up and don’t be hard on yourself. And don’t give up. Miss a whole week of gym classes? There’s a new week coming up. Bad habits don’t take root in a day. Neither do good ones.

In summary, break large goals into smaller pieces, set benchmarks along the way, ask for support from family and friends and find ways to incorporate your passions into your self-improvement plans.

Healthier living with the help of Blue Zones Project Umpqua

The secret to living longer and better can be found in simple, everyday things – the foods you eat, the company you keep, the activities you pursue, your outlook on life.

The trick is making it easier for you to unlock these secrets, and Blue Zones Project Umpqua is committed to doing just that.

Blue Zones is a well-being initiative designed to unite communities behind the goal of transforming environments so it’s easier for you to make healthy choices.

Hundreds of local residents are already involved in the Blue Zones effort in a variety of ways such as attending a purpose workshop or forming walking groups. Why don’t you join them?

It’s easy to get involved. Learn more by visiting

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2019!

Kathleen Nickel is director of communications for CHI Mercy Health.

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