Each new year comes with hopes for new beginnings and, for many people, a list of decisions to help make them come true. But forcing yourself to make a change in your life can be easier said than done. Need proof? Try to count the number of people showing up enthusiastically in any of the thousands of gyms across the country at the start of January. Then see how many still exercise at the end of the month.
This is why it’s so cool to hear stories from people choosing a solution, putting systems in place to stick to it and then achieve their goal that they actually choose.
HuffPost spoke with five people who made decisions at the beginning of 2019 and made it happen. They tell us how they did it and serve up some junk food for anyone aspiring to do the same by the end of 2020.
Note: Before starting any new health program, it is always a good idea to discuss your plans with a doctor or medical professional.
Brandon Campbell lost weight
Designer in Atlanta Brandon Campbell The decision would sound familiar to many – he wanted to lose 10 pounds.
“My wife and I moved south from Brooklyn a year earlier, and my spoiling for Southern comfort food (and handcrafted beer) was evident,” he told HuffPost.
Campbell enlisted the help of a friend, and together they created a “buddy system” to help keep that decision – and many others that included everything from drinking less to taking time off – on the right track.
He said, “My friend and I have written our decisions on the cards, sealed them in envelopes with identical numbers, and sent them across the country to each other.” “Many decisions were written as goals with distinctive features, so the phrase” quit drinking “was written as” Do not drink for three months “and another card for six months, and so on. Once the goal is achieved, we let the other person know which envelope will be opened. .
Campbell noted that shattering accomplishments like these makes sticking to them even more a priority – and more enjoyable.
“There is an additional element of satisfaction when you share the achievement with someone this way,” he said. “There is also an accountability trigger when trying to persuade another person to open all the envelopes by the end of the year. The other person does not know what is on those cards, but how sad would the months pass without one envelope being opened? They will be just sad, small, vague dreams that gather Dust is on Nalani’s shelf. “
Campbell fulfilled his primary decision and then some others, eventually losing a total of 18 pounds by cutting out meat, eggs and dairy products from his diet. He also reached several other decisions. It may seem daunting at first, but Campbell saw it as an opportunity for creativity. “Eating became more fun as I discovered more options that I hadn’t considered before,” he said.
Kelly Grover finally quit smoking
Kelly Grover started smoking when she was 21 and last year, at age 46, she went through two packs a day. She finally decided it was enough and picked the start of 2019 to discontinue. “It’s definitely time to give up this bad habit,” she told HuffPost.
Grover had made this decision before, “maybe about five or six times” using multiple methods to try to quit – but she never succeeded in doing so. This time, she sought the help of her doctor, who prescribed Chantix. She also used an app to track her progress.
“It was some of the hardest moments in the beginning,” she said. “It wasn’t smoking in and of itself that I was missing out on, but the habit. If I was tense or upset, I used to smoke. I no longer had a ‘crutch’, so that was – and still is – difficult sometimes.
Despite her struggles, the accountability she faced through using the app and the benefits she felt – like breathing easier and sleeping better – got her on the right track.
Grover said, “As of today, I am one year and seven days smoke-free and saved $ 5,573 – although I wish I had put that money aside in an account.”
Natalie LaFrance Slack reads a book a week
“My decision is boring, all things considered,” said Natalie LaFrance Slack of her decision to read one book a week in 2019. When I spoke with HuffPost, she was close to reaching her goal by about 50 weeks and ahead of schedule already. “It made me challenge all year long,” she said.
Slack was yearning to return to reading for the sake of fun after a number of factors over the years prevented her from doing so – first in school, then having three children in three years. She said that not only did she want to go back to doing something she loved before, but she also wanted to set a good example for her three children. This wasn’t the first time I pledged to read more – just the most effective and thus successful scale.
“In the past, I had a general plan to read it often,” she said. “This was the first year that I set a timeline for reaching my goal, along with accountability practices, and my resolve to make sure I really would spend 2019 reading.” She even made a spreadsheet where she listed the titles and summaries of every book she finished.
“The hardest part of the decision was intentional with my time,” she said. “It’s easier to watch Netflix in the evening with my husband, or hang out with friends, than to indulge in a book at the end of a mentally or emotionally stressful day. There was a while, during the summer months, when I found it easier to wake up at 4 o’clock: 45 am and reading because my evenings were mostly full. I took two international trips during the year which prevented me from feeling the turn of pages in a book (something that I definitely consider part of the joy of reading and my experience) and during those trips I used my phone for reading, with less pleasure. ”
In addition to feeling satisfied with completing a book, Slack was happy to find fulfillment in other, unexpected ways throughout the year. “I was very pleased to mail meaningful completed books to the people I care about,” said Slack. One of the highlights was Jason Green’s film “Once more we saw stars,” which I completed shortly after hearing the news of the loss of a dear friend’s pregnancy. Sending this book, with a note of courage and remembrance, was a gift that meant more than a bottle of wine or banality. Book delivery allowed For friends, full moments of sharing education, ideas, creativity, imagination and joy throughout the year. “
Stephanie resolved her stomach problems
Stephanie (who asked that her last name not be used) was sick and sick. At the age of 53, she suffered for a long time with digestive issues and told HuffPost that she was repeatedly misdiagnosed with IBS.
In 2019, instead of continuing to take trips to her doctor in the hope of resolving her stomach problems with further medical intervention, she decided to take matters into her own hands. “I’ve done a bunch of internet research that led to trying a series of elimination diets,” she told HuffPost.
Stephanie tried cutting out a variety of different foods, often to no avail.
“It took a lot of patience,” she said. “You have to wait several days before trying something new; if a food makes you sick, you have to wait for your body to recover. I actually thought she was allergic to gluten, but when I started adding ‘gluten-free’ items to my diet, I fell ill again This really threw me! I was ready to surrender. “
Stephanie said she finally discovered the foods that upset her stomach, and has since cut her from her diet, in a big way. It takes work: She has to prepare her food in advance and be especially careful about what she eats. But she says implementing this decision was worth it.
“I don’t feel any symptoms of my previous condition and I have a wonderful quality of life that I had never experienced before,” she said.
Victor Ferraro worked to enjoy good health
Victor Ferraro was preparing to take the bar exam in 2018 when he developed a cough, which worsened dramatically, and was followed by a slew of other symptoms. Ultimately, a trip to the hospital revealed that Ferraro, who was only 37 years old and who was “healthy until then,” was suffering from congestive heart failure.
“Doctors at Duke University and Colombia have been preparing me for the very real possibility of needing a heart transplant, or death, within a year,” he told HuffPost. “I didn’t plan to do either. On December 21, 2018, I had a defibrillator implantation surgery because I was at risk of sudden cardiac death with a weak heart. I then decided that if I survived the new year, my decision would not be just to live, but to try to avoid The need for a heart transplant. Oh, and I wanted to bypass the bar. “
Achieving his mega-resolution requires intense dedication including overhauling his diet, work and exercise through constant bouts of dizziness and weakness. But Ferraro didn’t stop – not even when he learned that after four months his heart was showing no signs of improvement.
He said, “During the year, my heart rarely did in situations like mine – it reversed its formation, or started shrinking to size and pumping a lot better.” Ferraro’s doctors attributed his progress to his amazing dedication to his health.
He said, “In other words, I stick to my decision.” “At the time I should have been dead, or needed a transplant, my heart was already recovering. My heart is not perfect, but I no longer need a transplant.”
While dealing with the major side effects of the medication he was taking, Ferraro also began studying for DC tape. “It was brutal but I pushed it and passed it. Now I’m waiting for the certificate to receive my license to practice law in Washington, DC and New York.”
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