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Healthy resolutions

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

January is a good month for making changes. Making a positive step in the direction of good health is a wonderful way to ring in the new year. But for the majority of individuals, New Year's resolutions do not last for long. Let's make our healthy resolutions for 2010 and make them work.

DECIDE ON YOUR GOALS

Take a moment to review your health status. What do you need to work on to make yourself healthier? If you need help, I would be happy to provide you with a free 'Wellness Evaluation' that will assist in identifying your potential weaknesses. Identify and make a list of your goals for the year.

CREATE A PLAN

Most successful businesses start with a business plan that describes their mission and specifies how they will achieve it. Write your own personal plan and you will be more likely to succeed as well. Tell someone you trust, like a mentor or coach, about your resolutions and ask for their support. By sharing your goals, they can gently steer you in the right direction if you go off course.

TAKE SMALL STEPS

Set realistic goals that are attainable and then take small steps that are likely to succeed, towards those goals. Don't decide that you must lose 20 pounds in a week or that you have to quit smoking 'cold turkey' without help. Instead, try joining a weight-loss programme and try to lose a pound or two a week, or seek professional help with smoking cessation.

Your initial action doesn't have to be anything big. Putting on your sneakers and walking for 10 minutes, or having a healthy shake-and-tea breakfast will provide the initial momentum you need.

Action precedes motivation, not the other way around. People often think they must wait until they are motivated to start doing something good for themselves. It doesn't work that way.

Once you initiate an action, the smallest of actions, it will be a lot easier to keep moving forward and to stay motivated.

HAVE A BIG WHY

We sometimes make goals that may not be very meaningful to us. Your goal should be something you really want to achieve, not something that society or your family members says is good for you. If you don't have a big why - a strong desire within yourself - you are less likely to be successful.

SOME WORTHWHILE RESOLUTIONS

CONQUER OBESITY: The World Health Organisation has described obesity as the world's major health epidemic and Jamaicans are among the most obese. Using a tried and proven programme, setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the most important factors in successful weight loss.

To help all those who resolve to lose excess weight and improve their nutrition, our team of wellness coaches located islandwide offer valuable assistance.

GET FIT: Physical fitness is a key component of overall wellness. Studies show that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

QUIT SMOKING: If you smoke, make this the year you decide to stop. It is the leading preventable cause of premature death. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life.

MINIMISE ALCOHOL USE: While many people want to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make this lifestyle change. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit on their own but do much better when they have group support. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is help and support available. I highly recommend Alcoholics Anonymous, which offers programmes around Jamaica.

HELP OTHERS: Charity, a great New Year's resolution, can take many forms. You can choose to mentor a child or visit a home for the elderly. There are many non-profit volunteer organisations that could really use your help. Or, maybe you can consider giving away some furniture, clothing and other household items you no longer need rather than dump them in the garbage.

NEVER GIVE UP: A big reason for unsuccessful resolutions is the way we deal with slips and lapses. They are not failures, but opportunities to learn. If you have set some goal and have a lapse, view it as a challenge, an opportunity to learn and grow, and an opportunity to pick yourself up and get back on track.

As we are body, mind and spirit, use your faith to add a spiritual dimension to your goals. This involves relying on a 'higher power' that can strengthen and support us in our efforts. This is the first step in the highly successful 12-Step Programme used to overcome addictions. Find a spiritual support system and use tools like prayer, faith and affirmations as powerful tools.

"For things to change, you and I have to change." Let's make some changes for 2010!

You may email Dr Tony Vendryes at vendryes@mac.com or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER 106FM on Fridays at 8 p.m.