Resolution Rx: Expert advice on how to make and keep your New Year's resolutions

A list of new years resolutions

New year, new you – or so the cliché goes. Unfortunately most new year’s resolutions fail, no matter how well-intentioned they are. That’s because sweeping lifestyle changes are hard. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another. Add in genetics, health issues and environmental triggers and suddenly resolution success becomes an uphill climb.

With that in mind, we asked UChicago Medicine clinicians what resolutions their patients are setting this year. (Spoiler alert: Weight loss topped the list.) Then we asked them to share their best advice to help people have a fighting chance at success. We've already shared our expert's advice on how to stop smoking. Today we kick off a four-week series that examines how to tackle other resolutions.

Here's what they had to say:

Start small

“Look at your overall routine and pattern and find something that would have some meaningful change, but that’s not an overhaul,” said registered dietitian Taylor Durkin, who works with patients trying to lose weight. “Take one baby step.”

That might mean choosing to cook one additional meal a week at home. Or try to swap a single sweetened drink for water each day.

Knowledge is power

“Whatever component of your health is more important to you, start keeping a record of it, ” said Andrea Busby, PhD, associate director of UChicago Medicine’s Chicago Weight Program. “You can’t make any changes to a health behavior until you know exactly what the baseline is.”

Put another way: We’re not so good at remembering our daily activities. A log book – whether it’s for exercise, smoking, food consumption or even trying to be more mindful of your budget – can go a long way toward helping you set and meet your goals.

Chicago Weight: A Weight Management Program for Adults

The UChicago Medicine Weight Management Program is designed to help patients manage excess weight, as well as any associated medical conditions. Our team works with each patient to create an individualized care plan. We offer a full spectrum of services and, depending on your needs, may recommend nutritional and physical activity counseling, psychological and lifestyle counseling, medications, endoscopic bariatric procedures and/or surgery.

Learn more about the Chicago Weight Program

Andrea Busby, PhD

Andrea Busby, PhD, is the associate director of UChicago Medicine’s Chicago Weight Program.

See Dr. Busby's bio