WHEELING - Stop smoking. Lose weight. Get organized.
Those are a few of the actions people resolve to commit to during each new year - and 2011 likely won't be much different.
While many people find it hard to stick to their resolutions, that doesn't mean they should not try, try again throughout the year.
Lynn Swider, director of Cardiopulmonary Services at East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, said she tells her patients to "never give up" when it comes to trying to stop smoking.
"The 11th time may just be the time you quit," she said.
And while resolving to quit during 2011 is a good goal, Swider said it is best to have a plan or at least start out slow to avoid frustration.
"People put a (nicotine replacement) patch on and find out they're not ready mentally," she said, noting this often leads to a relapse.
To break any habit, such as smoking, people should remember the four "Ds" - delay, deep breath, drink water and do something else.
"The craving will go away if you're not dwelling on it," Swider said.
Another small but helpful step is to change one's patterns of behavior when it comes to smoking. For example, first resolve not to smoke in the house or car. This forces one to actually think about lighting up instead of mindlessly chain smoking.
By eliminating places where one usually smokes, the act or habit of smoking is being broken. After thinking about having to put one's coat, hat and gloves on just to smoke may be enough of a deterrent.
Swider also recommends people have candy on hand to reach for instead of a cigarette. Some people, she noted, find comfort in chewing on coffee stir sticks or straws to get through cravings.
"Don't forget to reward yourself. Put what you spent on cigarettes in a jar and set it aside," Swider said, noting $5 a day spent on a single pack of cigarettes will add up quickly.
Getting in shape or losing weight is another popular resolution. George Frazier, manager of CentreTown Fitness in Wheeling, said one mistake people make is trying too much too soon.
"People jump in too aggressively and get burned out in a hurry," Frazier said.
While he recommends getting a cardio workout daily, it is best to mix-up workouts from day to day to avoid getting bored and frustrated. For example, for cardio workouts, one can choose walking, swimming, running, biking or using a treadmill in a gym. And on some days, add some strength training, such as free weights or weight-lifting machines.
"You're more likely to stick with it if you have a workout partner. Or if you have some extra money, you can hire a personal trainer a couple days a week," Frazier added.
When people resolve to lose weight, Frazier said they often mistakenly try to drastically change their diet. Instead, people should slowly eliminate or decrease consumption of some foods, while adding more fruits and vegetables.
"Keep it simple," he said.