With 2014, come new resolutions, new plans, and new ideas. We know setting New Year’s resolutions can seem outdated or trite, but, if you’re committed to following through, they really can be a great motivator. 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 (46%) are still on target six months later, a 2002 study found. It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve swept up the confetti, but it’s not impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick with it. Here’s to your health!
- Lose Weight: Ok, we know- this seems to be on most people’s list. 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. For a great kickstart, try Age Management Institute’s Weight Loss program.
- Stay in Touch: Feel like old friends (or family) have fallen by the wayside? It’s good for your health to reconnect with them. Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer than those who don’t. In fact, a lack of social bonds can damage your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking, and even more than obesity and lack of exercise. In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch—or rejuvenate your relationship—with friends and family.
- 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. Try different methods to find out what works. And think of the cash you’ll save! (We know you know the ginormous health benefit.)
- Save money by making healthy lifestyle changes. Walk or ride your bike to work, or explore carpooling. (That means more money in your pocket and less air pollution.)
- Cut back on alcohol: While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, too much of it is still the bigger problem. 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.
- 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.