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Happy New Year

Posted by Marilyn Csernus -

Every year millions of us make the same New Year's resolutions that we probably made last year and failed to fulfill. Although we have good intentions many resolutions made in the New Year fall by the wayside as we get caught up in the demands of every-day life. Sound familiar? How about taking a different approach to becoming healthier in 2014? Instead of just resolving to "lose weight" or "exercise more" why not map out a game plan of behavior changes to make your goal a sustainable reality?

Improving health likely involves adding more physical activity and eating healthier. It doesn't have to be about deprivation or what we need to give up. Look on the flip side and think of what you can add to your lifestyle. Maybe some of these suggestions will help 2014 start and end on a healthier note:

  1. If you don't know how, learn to cook! It is very difficult to eat healthy without cooking and opening a can or sticking something in the microwave doesn't count.
  2. Start a healthy recipe collection and try a couple of new dishes each week.
  3. Solicit a neighbor, friend or family member interested in becoming healthier to join in your efforts.
  4. Been itching to learn to dance or take a yoga class? No time like the present!
  5. Planning a vacation this year? Why not make it an active vacation with hiking, biking, kayaking or other outdoor adventures?
  6. Pack your lunch for work rather than relying on fast food.
  7. Seek out co-workers interested in improving their health. Keep healthy snack options stocked in the break room such as fresh fruit, light yogurt or string cheese, nuts or whole wheat crackers.
  8. Always have salad "fixings" available. Adding a tossed salad for lunch or dinner is an easy way to help meet the goal of 5 servings daily of fruits and vegetables.
  9. Strive to eat more "whole' foods and less processed foods.
  10. Turn the T.V. off. Research has shown that prolonged sitting increases our risk of mortality! At least get up and walk around during commercial breaks if you do watch T.V.
  11. If you smoke and have attempted to quit without success, seek help from your health care provider. Quitting smoking is a great way to start the New Year and will greatly reduce your health risk.
  12. Drink alcohol in moderation, which is no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. In the U.S. one drink is considered 1 ½ ounces of hard liquor, 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine.
  13. Be adventurous by trying new foods, especially unfamiliar fruits and vegetables.
  14. Maybe try out "Meatless Mondays" to cut back on unhealthy fats.
  15. Develop good sleep habits. Chronic sleep deprivation can have negative health ramifications.
  16. Get moving! Find some type of physical activity that is realistic to do on a regular basis. Walking is sometimes the best for many of us.

Think about choosing a couple of these to start the New Year off in a healthy fashion. Focus on behavior changes that will increase your chances of improving your health in 2014. Small changes sustained over time can reap great health benefits!

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