Make the One New Year’s Resolution that You Can Keep

By Rhonda Moore Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Medical Director, Health Equality & Quality Services, Highmark Inc.


OK, let’s face it – many of us begin each year with a list of New Year’s resolutions. I recently read that 45 percent of Americans make these yearly goals. What are the top three? Take a guess. Here are the top three New Year’s resolutions from 20141:


  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More


Experts on behavior say we should “Pick one resolution at a time. Make it specific and real.”2 Have you kept to your New Year’s resolutions? Probably most people will answer, “both yes and no.”


Here’s a suggestion for the one resolution that you can keep!


✓ Schedule a preventive check-up with my primary care provider.


What is a primary care provider?

Your primary care provider (often called a PCP) is a doctor who knows how to treat common medical conditions. Often the PCP works as part of a team that includes a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. It is important to find and visit a primary care provider you trust. They are your partner in health. PCPs can be:

  • A general or family practitioner (all ages)
  • A pediatrician (infants, children, adolescents)
  • An internist (adults)


All PCPs can do the following:

  • Provide preventive care and teach healthy lifestyle choices
  • Identify and treat common medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure,          common skin conditions and infections, just to name a few)
  • Assess your need for emergency or specialized care and direct you to the best place for

that care


If you are an adult, in addition to giving you the regular exams you need, your primary care doctor can help you with:

  • Weight management
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Quitting tobacco
  • Immunizations
  • Screenings for more serious conditions
  • Care and support when you’re feeling sick
  • Other health questions and concerns


So, go ahead. Make and keep that one (new) resolution. Schedule your PCP visit and get a preventive check-up. Be an active member of your health care team. Work with your doctor to make decisions about your health care.



Staff Writer

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