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Metro Detroit doctor shares simple secret to tackle health problems

‘It makes people more successful when they can check the box,’ doctor says

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – Making one health change can be hard. Making multiple changes is even more difficult.

But one St. Clair Shores cardiologist is devoted to helping her patients create a plan to improve their health and actually stick to it.

Dr. Joan Crawford is the Medical Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital. She routinely sees patients facing life or death challenges.

“If someone just had a heart attack, and they have to quit smoking, watch their sugar, change their diet, lose weight, it becomes extremely overwhelming,” said Crawford. “The next time you see them, maybe they did one thing, maybe they didn’t or maybe they are the same weight or five pounds heavier.”

Crawford says a simple notebook can help patients focus.

"I think having your goals written down, you make a commitment and you organize your thoughts," explained Crawford. "Go to the drug store and buy just a little pad and basically just write down 10 or 20 health goals and then just really think about it and say, 'What is it I can really start doing this month? And what is it that I am going to wait and try to kick in in 6 months?'"

The steps to accomplish that goal also go in the notebook, along with their daily progress and anything else patients need to track or want to remember.

"I think people are very goal-oriented. It makes people more successful when they can check the box like, 'Did this, did this, did this,'" said Crawford. "When we meet again, I'm like, 'Get out your book, and let's pick the next goal.'"