2016 New Year’s resolutions can be successful, says Upstate wellness coordinator

A positive outlook can increase the likelihood of achieving success with New Year’s resolutions, but that outlook must be combined with three rules of thought, says Suzanne Brisk, coordinator for Upstate Medical University’s Pathway to Wellness program.

The rules, she says, are to reflect and redirect; add, not subtract; and celebrate, not criticize.

To reflect and redirect, Brisk says that we should first consider what our resolutions were last year. Did you have one and quit? She says to use this time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t and then to redirect your efforts.

“Whatever it is, it is worth jotting down and then thinking of one or two ways to overcome the barriers,” says Brisk. “If you joined a gym last year and never went, then consider using workout tapes at home instead, or, if you often eat out and choose unhealthy options, you may consider taking the time to pack your own lunch.”

She also says not to dwell on what we must eliminate, but rather, to add a healthy behavior.

“People often think of what will be taken away, such as soda or candy, but we must instead think what can be added, such as a five-minute walk, positive thoughts, exercise with a buddy, a vegetable, a deep breath, a stretch or a pedometer.  When you add instead of deprive, the mind/body response is happier and the likelihood of repeating that action is greater.”

Lastly, she says to celebrate efforts rather than to criticize them.  “If you put your sneakers on and walk for 5 minutes or if you smoke one less cigarette today than yesterday, then why not celebrate it,” she says. “Too often we beat ourselves up because we were not perfect, so if you got out of bed today and did one sit-up, then celebrate it!”

Still feeling unsure of 2016?  The Pathway to Wellness offers some specific, measureable, achievable, reasonable and timely ideas to help:

• Contact Theresa Hankin at and gather your three quit smoking benefits: free classes, free nicotine patches, gum and/or lozenges, free quit smoking medications for any dependents on your insurance (after reimbursement).

• Walk for 5 minutes with the Monday Mile walkers in January.

• Visit Pathwayfor information on diabetes education.

• Commit to a NYSWellEveryday behavior challenge or sign up to get a healthy tip each day at Worklife.

• “Like” Pathway to Wellness for tips, ideas and announcements on wellness programs and events all year long.

For more Pathway to Wellness activities, see Briefs section of today’s Upstate Online.

Caption: From left, Donna Pope-Wagner, Matthew Richard, Pathway to Wellness Coordinator Suzanne Brisk, Katie Fauci, Georgia Regan and Darlene Coons take part in a Souper Monday Mile walk up East Adams St. The Souper Monday Mile Walk is an activity of Upstate’s Pathway to Wellness program. Those who participate in the walk are treated to a bowl of soup at a reduced price, courtesy of Morrison.

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