Area Experts Give the Skinny on New Years Resolutions
December 28, 2017 by Rose Nemunaitis

As everyone rings in the New Year, the sound of resolutions for 2018 will often reverberate as well.

As everyone rings in the New Year, the sound of resolutions for 2018 will often reverberate as well.

Yet, these good intentions tend to eventually fall by the wayside.

Local experts give some tips on how people can develop New Year’s resolutions and take steps to make sure they’re successful.

“My view on resolutions is that to make them meaningful and a higher success factor, is to make sure that they are anchored in intention — an intention about something that has strong meaning and relevance to you,” said Lori Gorrell, owner and founder of Upward Solutions Coaching and Counseling.

From getting in shape and losing weight, to staying healthy, cutting debt and learning to be happier with your life, resolutions can be attained, said experts in Geauga County.

“For example, a resolution to lose weight would be anchored in a goal around being physically fit and healthy — a resolution to take a class could be anchored in a goal with the intention to be well educated,” Gorrell said. “The intentionality opens up the possibility of even greater things. How about a resolution to create meaningful, impactful and intentional goals that you achieve with clarity and focus?”

High on the list for many is dropping pounds and getting fit.

“There is nothing magical about how to lose weight,” said Dr. Don DeCarlo, chief operating officer and chief medical officer at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center. “It’s simply expending more calories than one intakes.”

He said the challenge is in implementation.

“One needs to focus on a balanced meal and consistent exercise,” DeCarlo said. “Crash diets are short-term and often lead to increased weight gain over a period of time.”

Experts said the first meal of the day is important.

“Most people who skip breakfast end up having an unhealthy diet,” DeCarlo said. “It is important to consume a reasonable amount of food along with eating three meals a day.”

Dr. Marina Damis, of the UH Geauga Department of Psychiatry, agreed.

Damis said people should create and stick to a healthy meal scheduled with morning vitamins and a high protein breakfast that includes Greek yogurt to stabilize sugar and increase focus.

“Eat like a queen for breakfast, duchess for lunch and pauper at night,” Damis said.

Other suggestions include enjoying red meat no more than once a week and including fatty fish in your diet for central nervous system stability and arterial plaque build up.

She stressed to walk, walk, walk and drink lots of water throughout the day.

“I keep a jug at my desk,” Damis said.

Paul Conley, executive director of the Geauga Family YMCA, said it is important to make a realistic plan and a decision that this is a lifestyle change, not a diet.

“Expect and understand that setbacks are natural and part of the process and make sure you have someone to help keep you accountable,” Conley said. “Have a goal in mind and a true reason why you want to make this change. Be prepared to invest in yourself both time and financially. Lastly, set small goals so you see success.”

Dan Sammon, owner of Everybodies Gym in Chardon, suggests “resolutioners” should be in it for the long run.

“I always like to start that health and longevity should not just be a New Year’s thing,” Sammon said. “It should become year round and a way of life for those that are serious.”

He stressed people need to identify what it is they want to achieve, such as weight loss, weight gain, lowering cholesterol, running faster. Then they should educate themselves, whether through the Internet, books, articles or getting to a gym where education and good personal training is available.

“More importantly, we like to see people continue on a healthy path and not fade after a month or so, like the typical resolutioners as I call them,” Sammon said. “We can’t stress enough the importance of health and it’s really the key to living long.”

Jason Bickel, Hambden Health & Fitness personal trainer, highlighted the importance of visualizing one’s goals.

He said a goal list is key.

“Let’s say you write down ‘Lose 20 pounds in 2018’ at the top of the page,” Bickel said. “Now under that goal, you want to write down a list of three to five things off the top of your head that will help you reach that goal.”

These can include downloading an app to help track calories, researching and joining a gym that fits goals, starting to walk three times a week. Once you have a goal list ready and your mind and energy fully wrapped around them, it’s time to execute, he said.

This can also mean paying off all those Christmas gifts after unwrapped.

John Solich, of Middlefield Bank, had some suggestions on how to get those stubborn holiday bills paid down quickly.

Solich suggested paying credit cards with the highest rates down first.

“Consider opening up a new credit card with a zero percent offer on balance transfers, but make sure to pay the balance in full before the allotted promotional time,” Solich said.

He suggested taking advantage of a home equity line of credit with low interest rates, allowing the person to pay down the principle balance of the debt quicker.

“Be more frugal in January and February and put more of your budget to paying down debt,” Solich said. “Open a ‘Holiday Savings’ account at your local bank branch and start saving monthly for next year’s adventure.”

He added it’s always good to get a copy of your free annual credit report, address any errors and from there, make a plan.

Stick with the plan by “talking with an expert or just the simple act of writing out and re-visiting your financial goals throughout the year will help you achieve them faster,” Solich added.

Jen Emch, a licensed professional counselor, offers services within the mind, body, spirit continuum.

“Many of us find ourselves making resolutions at the start of the new year, but forget that every day is an opportunity to set a new intention, a resolution for ourselves,” Emch said. “We are always changing, growing, learning and think of the many strengths we all possess.”

Emch says the key to achieving resolutions is to make a mindful choice, daily, to make a focus on “you.”

“I believe allowing the opportunity to challenge our negative self-talk ‘I can’t do this, I feel selfish taking time for myself, I don’t have time for this, etc.’ provides a space for us to take an honest inventory on the things we need to let go of in order to allow self-acceptance, a better understanding of self and the concept of selflessness to light the fire under the goals and resolutions we’ve set,” she said.

Just like checking in on goals and intentions, happiness can be achieved by doing a daily check in with yourself, Emch said.

“We’ve all experienced that ‘gut feeling,’ whether that be positive or negative,” Emch added. “Spend time exploring that.”

She added, “When we are on our ‘right path,’ more synchronistic events occur to remind us that we are doing the right thing and finding our ‘happy,’ connecting with the most authentic version of ourselves.”