Making a commitment to a new you in 2016

Published 4:36 pm Friday, January 22, 2016

In this season of new beginnings, many of us have made our new year’s resolutions and deciding to change some of the things that may not have worked out so well in 2015.

Kimberly Matthews

Kimberly Matthews

A lot of resolutions that people make revolve around giving something up. That could be overeating, smoking, or drinking. Others involve doing more of something like exercising, traveling, or validating loved ones.

Whatever your change revolves around, make sure that you are spending energy on yourself. This could be taking yourself out on a date or just finding time in your busy day to take some deep breaths. It could be putting energy into making sure your existing relationships are remaining strong. It could be taking an extra five minutes out of the day to talk to your kids.

Whatever your overarching 2016 goals are, remember that when you are making your resolutions or planning your changes, don’t always look outside yourself.  Here is a list of possible resolutions that people make and some simple and healthy ideas to make those things happen.


This is a favorite of resolution makers. If you choose a new diet, make sure that it is something you can do. Not everyone is cut out for low carb plans. Low fat and fat free diets often leave people kind of grouchy. If your family doesn’t want to spend time around you, it may not be the best diet. Speaking of family, make sure that the diet you choose can be easily enjoyed by members of the family that may not need to lose weight. Cooking two completely separate sets of meals will get old very fast.


Smoking is a very hard habit to break. There are lots of products, books and systems out there, but the first step is deciding that you want to quit smoking. At the Beaufort County Health Department, Quick Quit Kits are available to help people on their journey toward being a non-smoker. The North Carolina Quit Line ( or 1-800-Quit-Now) is a wonderful resource for people and quit coaches may be provided at no cost.


There are several people out there putting off that annual check-up for whatever reason. Maybe you don’t have a regular doctor or your insurance is not where you would like it to be. Maybe you are afraid of finding a serious illness and the longer you put it off, the less you have to think about it. There are tons of valid reasons that people don’t want to go to the doctor. There is also one very important one that should trump all others. You have to take care of yourself!  Putting off going to the doctor may mean that you don’t know something is wrong. It also may mean that by the time you find out it may be too late. There are options available for almost everyone.


This is both one of the easiest resolutions to make, but can be the hardest to keep. We all know that when we cook at home, we know exactly what is in our food and we don’t have to guess about this thing we are allergic to or that amount of saturated fat. Unfortunately, when there are practices and meetings and life happenings, it’s often easier just to pull into a drive thru. In order to make this resolution work, pre-planning is needed. Meal planning helps organize your thoughts for the week and by taking one day out of the week to prep you will save money and make the drive thru much less appealing.


So this may not normally fit in the realm of “Healthy Living,” but saving money is important in the process of living well. As mentioned above, meal planning/meal prepping can save lots of money when you eat out less. There are several apps and websites that help you plan your budget according to your own means. When you are able to save money, it can allow you to reduce stress, which does wonders for your health!


Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. While you are sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It is forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Sleeps is involved in healing and repairs your heart and blood vessels and helps you function throughout the day. Remember that if you don’t find the time to sleep, your body will do it for you, like when you are in the middle of a very important meeting or behind the wheel of your car. Help get your sleep cycle on track by having a well-balanced diet.

Whatever your commitment is to a new you in 2016, remember that you should make your goals realistic and reachable. We all have things we need to do and it gets hard. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Small steps help you to reach your long-term goals.

Kimberly Matthews, MPH, is a public health education specialist with Beaufort County Health Department and can be reached at 252-940-6521.