New Year, New Opportunity: How to Achieve Your PAH Resolution

United Therapeutics avatar

by United Therapeutics |

Share this article:

Share article via email
home-based exercise program

Carlos Amarillo/Shutterstock

The new year is the time of resolutions, and for those with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), it can serve as a fresh start to reflect and make changes.

Resolving to Want More

What do you want to achieve in the year ahead?  Taking time to think about what you want to happen over the next 12 months is the first step to making it a reality. Whether it’s committing to learning more about PAH, speaking up and advocating for yourself, eating better, or making time for self-care, it often comes down to wanting more for yourself and believing change is possible.

So, what can you do in this new year to make a difference for yourself?

How to Create and Achieve Your PAH Resolution

Creating new year’s resolutions is a great way to make impactful changes to your PAH—but making them stick is the challenge. You may have made resolutions in the past and stuck with them briefly, only to go back to how things were a short time later. It can be discouraging, but research can help us break this cycle.

What does research tell us about maximizing the chance of sticking with our resolutions? What’s the best way to set a goal and achieve it?

Studies show that three methods can help create lasting resolutions that can help you make a  change:

  • Commit by writing it down and telling a friend
  • Anticipate likely barriers and make a plan to deal with them
  • Connect your goal to something you enjoy

How You Commit Can Make a Difference

Commitment is the driving force behind successful resolutions. But how you commit to a goal can make a difference. It’s great to set a goal in your mind, but research shows that the more open and public your commitment is the more likely we are to follow

One way of openly committing to a goal is writing it down. Including what you will do each day to accomplish them is even better.

For example, one goal could be exercising more regularly. You can write next to that goal that you will commit to an exercise activity at certain times of the week, such as treadmill walking (or whatever your PAH specialist has recommended).


Making ourselves accountable and taking these actions in advance while motivated helps us follow through when our motivation isn’t as high in the future.

Make a Plan to Overcome Barriers

People often know what they want or need to do but struggle with the how. Real life happens, and barriers inevitably get in the way of good intentions.

Take a goal like losing weight or sticking with a low-sodium diet. Many people know they need to eat healthier and follow the exercise routines recommended by their PAH specialist. These things sound simple in theory, but actually doing them can be difficult.

There are ways to help ensure barriers don’t get in the way, however.

One way research has shown barriers can be overcome is to recognize that such things happen and plan for how to handle them.

To do this, consider some barriers you feel are likely to disrupt your goal. Write down those barriers, including what you will do to overcome them. You may find this format helpful:

“IF I’m in situation ___________________________,

THEN I will do _______________________________ that will help me achieve my goal.”

For example, suppose you want to do your daily activities more easily and have resolved to be more proactive in your PAH care. You recognize that ignoring new symptoms is a possible barrier. You might write down, “IF my family notices I’m getting more short of breath, THEN I will call my doctor to talk through my symptoms (rather than wait for my scheduled visit).”

Connect Your Goal to Something You Enjoy

It can be hard to find the motivation at times to accomplish your goal. Research shows finding ways to enjoy the process can help, especially if something you really enjoy is only available when doing the thing you are less motivated about.

Examples could be only watching your favorite television series while walking on your treadmill or letting yourself indulge in your favorite treat if you were consistent with your low-sodium diet plan the past week. Linking something you love to a task you need extra motivation with can help you reach your goal by making it more enjoyable.


This new year can be a great opportunity to examine your lifestyle and make impactful changes. Try incorporating these methods if you need help creating and maintaining your PAH resolutions!

Stay Informed and Connected with PAH Initiative

Our understanding of PAH continues to grow, making it essential to have a dependable resource for information and inspiration. As a reader of Pulmonary Hypertension News, you already know this! Whether through the PAH Initiative website, email newsletter, or Facebook and Instagram communities, the PAH Initiative gives you various ways to learn more about PAH, get motivated, and interact with others living with PAH.

To learn more, visit

This article was sponsored by the PAH Initiative, where knowledge meets inspiration. The PAH Initiative, sponsored by United Therapeutics, is dedicated to advancing patient care in pulmonary arterial hypertension.


Gardner, Sarah and Albee, Dave, “Study focuses on strategies for achieving goals, resolutions” (2015). Press Releases. 266.

Wang G, Wang Y, Gai X. A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Mental Contrasting With Implementation Intentions on Goal Attainment. Front Psychol. 2021;12:565202. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.565202

Teaching temptation bundling to boost exercise: A field experiment. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 2020;161:20-35. doi:/10.1016/j.obhdp.2020.09.003

A Conversation With Rare Disease Advocates