Summer Reset?

Noe Lopez, FNP-C, Cucamonga Valley Medical Group

It’s Not Too Late to Reestablish Good Habits, Revive New Year’s Resolutions

Thoughts of New Year’s resolutions probably are not on the minds of most people these days. Especially not with the summer sunshine and often scorching temperatures we’ve seen throughout the Inland Empire.

But if you’ve strayed away from those promises and goals you once set as the calendar flipped to 2023, it’s not too late to make healthy choices and get back on track.

Let’s call it a summer reset!

“The first important step is for you to reassess your priorities,” said Cucamonga Valley Medical Group’s Noe Lopez, FNP-C. “Ask yourself if your goal is a realistic goal. Second, although initially you may not have reached your goal that was set as a New Year’s resolution, be proud of any positive small changes you may have made.

“Just as it was in January, one of the best ways to get back on track is to start by setting a goal,” Lopez said. “Remember the words of entrepreneur Richard Branson, who once said, ‘Setting goals is the first step from invisible to the visible.’”

Those setting goals often rely on the acronym SMARTER. This stands for:

  • Specific (clearly identify a goal).
  • Measurable (define the goal in measurable terms).
  • Attainable (make sure the goal is realistic).
  • Relevant (a goal that is important to you).
  • Time bound (give yourself a time frame to achieve the goal).
  • Evaluate (be sure to address any barriers you encountered and note progress).
  • Reward (reward yourself along the way).

“In my experience in behavior change for patients trying to lose weight, quit smoking or starting an exercise program, I have found the benefit of using the SMARTER goal approach,” Lopez said. “However, another approach that is evidence-based is the SUCCESS approach. The convenience of this approach is that you don’t have to use all seven elements of the acronym and it promotes positive emotions about goal setting.”

The SUCCESS goal formula includes:

  • Subjective (set a goal that is personal to you, not what others want for you).
  • Urgent (create a priority list and decide which goals you want to work on now. Ask yourself, what is the benefit of acting now vs. what are the costs of waiting?).
  • Committed (choose goals that you feel strongly enough about to persist until you achieve them).
  • Concrete (make a goal that is specific, for example “This week I will walk for three days for at least 15 minutes in the evening after dinner”).
  • Evaluate (regularly review your progress, have you encountered any challenges along the way? If so, how did you overcome them or how do you plan to overcome them?).
  • Shared (write down your goal and share it with others to increase your accountability).
  • Support (goals for which you can obtain support from others or perhaps pursue in cooperation with others can help you to become more successful).

“The best advice I can provide to someone who feels discouraged or frustrated is to remind them persistence is the key to success,” Lopez said. “One of my favorite motivational speakers is famed former UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden. He once said, ‘Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.’ I’m sure there are countless examples of motivational quotes you could find, but most have the common theme of, ‘Don’t quit and just keep going.’”

Teamwork and a solid support system also are key to sticking with those goals you set. As usually is the case it’s more difficult to tackle an objective alone than it is with the input and assistance of others.

“Another great technique is to find support from those who are closest to you,” Lopez said. “Let’s face it, sticking to goals is hard and time consuming. If you have your own ‘cheering squad,’ this can help keep you motivated when the going gets tough.”

Lopez emphasized four healthy habits that he encourages his patients to utilize in order to live a fulfilling life. He turned to another acronym to help make his point.

“I had the privilege to learn from a great motivational doctor, Dr. Sean Hashmi, who taught me about the SELF Principle,” Lopez said.

“First, obtain good quality Sleep,” he said. “The point here is not about the quantity but more about the quality of sleep. A good night’s rest allows your brain to refresh and recharge for the next day. It restores your body so that you have the energy to complete your tasks throughout the day.”

Lopez noted that in today’s fast-paced environment we often encounter situations or barriers that impede our ability to get a good night’s sleep. Exposing your eyes to bright lights by using electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, computers and televisions are among the main culprits. Not enough exposure to sunlight and the stress of our everyday lives are two other factors that keep us up at night.

Next in the SELF Principle is Exercise. “There are numerous types of exercises that one can utilize but the best is the one that you will most likely enjoy doing,” Lopez said. “As humans, our bodies were meant to move, and sadly with the influence of technology we have witnessed the sequela of a sedentary lifestyle.”

The next habit is to express Loving kindness by practicing gratitude and being kind to others. “Let’s face it, we live in a ‘me-first’ society,” Lopez said. “When was the last time we expressed thanks to those who keep us safe in the street or thanked a teacher for guiding our children in school? Also, we hear almost every day how our country is very much divided. I think we have much more in common than we all think but it starts first with being kind to one another.”

Finally, we all should eat a variety of Foods, but most often eat plant-based food that are anti-inflammatory. “This doesn’t mean you have to be completely vegan, but we should try to limit the processed foods including the processed meats and the foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt,” Lopez said.

We’re just a bit beyond the halfway mark of the calendar year. If your New Year’s resolutions took a hit in recent months. The tips and acronyms discussed in this blog can help you get back on track. Cucamonga Valley Medical Group is here to assist you.

“Here at CVMG we emphasize the core of our culture which is life, love and compassion,” Lopez said. “Some of the ingredients to our core culture are the attributes of trust, customer service, collaboration and accountability. I think we can use these features when working with our patients to help them reach their personal goals”

“We can build trust and present great customer service providing by evidence-based education on nutrition, stress management, and exercise,” he said. “We can also collaborate with our patients by referring them to specialists that may help them to achieve their personal goals such as physical therapy, behavioral health, sleep medicine and nutrition counseling. Finally, we can hold patients accountable by providing free food and activity logs that patients can share with their provider.”