If you’re anything like me, you resolve to improve yourself this time of year. Eat better, work smarter, spend more time with family and friends (and less time with Donald Trump’s Twitter feed)—these are my typical goals. And if you’re like me, you’re probably going to miss those targets. According to research, about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but just 10 percent achieve them.
Why do we fail? Breaking a habit is really hard, and most of us aren’t willing to change our behavior unless a crisis occurs. We can read all the facts in the world about heart disease, but we continue our unhealthy ways until the consequences of our poor diets hit home—perhaps a heart attack or the death of a loved one.Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
Personally, I’d like to avoid waiting for a burst artery or a social media-induced panic attack, so I turned to Bernadette Melnyk for advice. She oversees Ohio State University’s wellness programs, which the National Academy of Medicine honored as a role model for other institutions in 2019. Melnyk, also the dean of OSU’s College of Nursing, shared with me these five tips for doing resolutions the right way:Set a realistic, specific goal. “The more specific we can get, the better,” Melnyk says. Write the goal down and place it where you can see it every day. “Visual triggers can help people with behavior change,” she says. Profess and believe you can achieve it. “You’ve got to have a change in thinking if you’re going to have a change in doing.” Get an accountability/support partner. This could be anyone you see regularly who consistently supports your efforts, Melnyk says. If you fall off the wagon, get back on. When people slip up, “They tend to give up instead of saying, ‘OK, I didn’t do it for the past couple of days, but I’m going to start again today,’” Melnyk says.
Melnyk says these best practices apply to all areas of self-improvement. “The principles of behavior change are the same no matter the goal you set,” she says. Which leads to a sixth tip (this one from me): Check out our “Improve Yourself: A Guide to Adult Learning in Columbus.” This guide to adult learning in Central Ohio is a great place to find concrete and attainable ways to create a new you in the new year.***
This month’s issue features four separate covers, each with a different Columbus female leader representing a different sector of the community: the arts, law, banking and politics. Rather than have just one woman serve as the face of senior editor Suzanne Goldsmith’s insightful feature on the state of female influence in Columbus (“Women and Power: Can Columbus Shatter the Glass Ceiling?"), we thought it made more sense to share the cover love. Issues with the different covers were distributed randomly to subscribers and newsstands.