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by lisa payne

Want to finally get better at going to the gym? Forgot your way around the fruits and vegetables section at the grocery store? Or maybe you’re finally ready to quit an unhealthy habit? Whatever your new year’s resolution is, there’s no better time to get started than in the coming year.

A smart game plan will make your resolution a long-term success. But is it better to go cold turkey or to ease your way slowly into the new you? Dive in and see what’s best for you.

Going Cold Turkey

Going cold turkey means quitting a habit abruptly. This might mean eliminating all junk food, alcohol, cigarettes or other substances from your life in one foul swoop and starting fresh the next day. Taking charge of your life and what you want can be empowering. The decision alone to swap one bad habit for a healthier one can encourage you to continue taking steps to making those goals stick.

However, suddenly going to the gym every day when you’re used to a more sedentary lifestyle can be overwhelming, cause fatigue or lead to injuries. Abruptly eliminating sugar, alcohol or other indulgent foods may lead to cravings, anxiety and overeating. Sudden smoking or substance cessation can cause withdrawal symptoms. Going cold turkey without a support system can make the transition a tough adjustment period.

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Slow & Steady Wins the Race

If your new year’s resolution is to start working out, ease into a progressive workout plan. Find workouts that you enjoy, fit your schedule and are convenient. This way, you’ll be less likely to want to quit. If alcohol or indulgent goodies are your downfall, you don’t have to give up your social life to stay on track. Start with smaller goals like drinking more water or eating a side salad over a savory appetizer. If this is your year to quit smoking, consult a licensed healthcare professional for tips on how to taper and manage withdrawal symptoms. 

The downside to taking it slow? It takes time and patience. But the more you turn your healthy habits into a daily practice, the longer you’ll stay on the wagon.

As the year comes to a close, reflect on what you’d like to work on and commit to a plan that resonates with you. Just remember, your bad habits didn’t start overnight. But your success is directly proportional to the effort you put into it.