Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Make healthy living this New Year's resolution

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM

So how many of you kept your last New Year's resolution? Does it even make sense to make one? Only 10 per cent of persons achieve their New Year's resolution goals. Is there any way to improve your resolve to keep it?

First of all, you may improve your chance of success by (1) focusing on one significant change in your life, (2) making it personal, (3) making a detailed, written plan, (4) getting help from friends and professionals, (5) charting your progress and rewarding yourself along the way, (6) putting past failures behind you and (7) reminding yourself daily of the reasons for the change. Next let's look at ten possible changes.

1. Get yourself a medical check-up. Making it personalised will make it more meaningful. Age, sex, medical history, family history and personal habits should factor into the process.

2. Get more exercise. This can be done by just increasing your level of activity each day. You walk further while getting to and from work. You also do activities at your desk (repeated standing, etc). Share these with co-workers.

Eat well

3. Make better food choices. Increase your intake of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fatty fish (mackerel etc), legumes, nuts and water. Choose better eating times and snack choices. Limit unhealthy food intake.

4. Optimise your weight. This will be helped by following (2) and (3) but may require making some specific choices.

5. Quit smoking. Yes, try again next year even if you have failed before. Get help (from friends and a professional), try a different method, etc. The more you try, the more likely you will succeed.

6. Help others. Commit yourself to an activity that will benefit others. This will make you happier and healthier. You may improve your network and skills, and reduce stress.

7. Reduce your stress and get more rest. This can be done by making better plans for yourself, saving more and mastering relaxation techniques. Optimise your rest time daily, weekly and yearly. Get to bed earlier, take a day off from work weekly and take a vacation.

8. Limit, or better, avoid intake alcohol intake. It increases many health and social problems.

9. Go back to school. Improve on or learn a new skill, e.g., learn a new language. This may protect against mental decline.

10. Improve your social contacts. Keep in touch with family and friends. This has tangible health benefits.