Healthy New Year's Resolutions for 2016

by TOI Admin December 30, 2015

With the new year here, many people have made New Year’s resolutions to better their health. Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half are still on target six months later.

  1. Lose Weight - The fact that this is perennially among the most popular resolutions suggests just how difficult it is to commit to. But you can succeed if you don’t expect overnight success. Also, plan for bumps in the road. Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and have a support system in place. "Around week four to six...people become excuse mills," Pam Peeke, MD, says. "That’s why it’s important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times."
  2. Quit Smoking - Fear that you’ve failed too many times to try again? Talk to any ex-smoker, and you’ll see that multiple attempts are often the path to success. "It’s one of the harder habits to quit," says Merle Myerson, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at St. Luke’s andRooseveltHospitals, inNew York City. "But I always tell people to think of how much money they will save."
  3. Cut Your Stress - A little pressure now and again won’t kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress give us an energy boost. But if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of—or worsen—insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease, and more. Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, MD, an integrative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City. "Stress is an inevitable part of life," she says. "Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things we tell ourselves we deserve but don’t allow ourselves to have."
  4. Volunteer - We tend to think our own bliss relies on bettering ourselves, but our happiness also increases when we help others, says Peter Kanaris, PhD, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association. And guess what? Happiness is good for your health. A study found that people with positive emotions were about 20% less likely than their gloomier peers to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. Other research suggests that positive emotions can make people more resilient and resourceful."Someone who makes this sort of resolution is likely to obtain a tremendous personal benefit in the happiness department," Kanaris says.
  5. Cut Back on Alcohol - While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, too much tippling is still the bigger problem.
    Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures.
    Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.
  6. Get More Sleep - You probably already know that a good night’s rest can do wonders for your mood—and appearance. But sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize.A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And sleep is crucial for strengthening memories (a process called consolidation).
  7. Travel - The joys and rewards of vacations can last long after the suitcase is put away. "We can often get stuck in a rut, and we can’t get out of our own way," Kanaris says. "Everything becomes familiar and too routine." But traveling allows us to tap into life as an adventure, and we can make changes in our lives without having to do anything too bold or dramatic.

 Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20452233,00.html

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