The start of a new year brings fresh starts, new opportunities, new goals and new dreams. This year, TRICARE in support of Operation Live Well, encourages you to make a determined approach to becoming a better you than you were last year.

While you may not set New Year’s resolutions, you can set new goals for yourself. Whether you need to quit smoking, lose weight, or learn a new skill, a New Year offers a fresh perspective on the year that you won’t have any other time. The American Psychological Association (APA) cautions that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes, but as a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes. The APA offers five steps to help you make lasting change:

  • Start small
  • Change one behavior at a time
  • Talk about it
  • Don’t beat yourself up
  • Ask for support

Are you a pessimist? Begin daily affirmations to give yourself a more positive outlook. Tend to overindulge in desserts? Try replacing dessert with a healthier option you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt.

In order to make lasting changes, the National Institutes of Health reminds us that maintaining a change requires continued commitment until the change becomes part of your life, like brushing your teeth or washing your hair. You also want to envision how the change will impact your life. For instance, when you stop smoking, think about how your risk plummets for cancer, heart disease, stroke and early death.

You should prepare yourself for challenges and ask how bad you really want it. Research suggests that if it’s something you really want for yourself, if it’s meaningful to you, you’re more likely to stick to it.

Many people start the New Year with hope and big plans. With thoughtful planning and realistic goals, you can end the year in accomplishment. For more information on living your best you and living well, visit the TRICARE Health & Wellness page.

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