New Year’s resolutions you should be making

Make one—or all—of these resolutions to have a healthier 2017
January 10, 2017

Starting 2017 off on a strong note by making a resolution to improve your health is a great idea, but it’s difficult to find one that won’t have you giving up by the time spring comes around. Although the usual suspects like losing weight and quitting smoking made the list, here are some suggestions from the experts at the Texas A&M College of Medicine that can make 2017 your healthiest year yet.

Stress can really take a toll on your body

Cut Stress 

Stress is almost inevitable, whether it’s from work, school or home life—or all three at the same time. Although stress is a natural response in your mind and body, it can also take a harsh toll over time if you don’t manage it. Increased stress can lead to anxiety, a weakened immune system or heart ailments.

Learn some positive coping mechanisms, such as meditation, exercising or increasing time with loved ones, to deal with stress.

Don't skip your appointments with your health care providers 

Keep your appointments 

We understand: There’s never a good time to go see your physician—especially if it’s just for a routine wellness check—but keeping appointments with your health care provider can keep chronic medical conditions managed and possibly prevent other illnesses. For example, if you have a family history of high blood pressure, bad cholesterol or diabetes, then it’s best that you see your provider more frequently because of how important early detection can be.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how many times you should be sitting in your provider’s waiting room, but put a few dates on your calendar ahead of time to make sure your health is in tip top shape.

Start small to begin your weight loss journey

Lose weight (but try it differently this time)

This one seems like the un-official New Year’s resolution, as every January people begin flocking to the gym in an attempt to finally lose some of the stubborn pounds. It’s that kind of all-in mentality that leads to the springtime burnout. Eventually, it becomes too difficult or inconvenient to plan healthy meals in advance or make it to the gym three or four times a week.

So what’s the better way to try it? It’s best to think of your weight loss resolution as a marathon instead of a sprint. Starting small—such as walking your dog more often, decreasing soda intake or buying a food journal—can help you build the habits that will allow you to lose weight over time.

Just quit.  

Quit smoking

Experts have always been adamant about the dangers of smoking, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. The CDC found that current smoking rates have declined five percent from 2005 to 2015, but the use of alternative forms of smoking, such as e-cigarettes, have become more prevalent—especially in teens and young adults.

Not only is smoking detrimental to your health, but secondhand smoke has serious risks to children and people with respiratory illness such as asthma. Make 2017 your year to quit.

Your sleep habits can make or break your year

Get more sleep

Alright, time for some deep reflection. Do you really think you get enough sleep? If you are one of the roughly 33 percent who don’t get enough shut-eye, this should be high on your to-do list. Sleep is necessary for daily functioning, as excessive exhaustion can interfere with school or work productivity and increase stress. Although many people do suffer from sleep disorders, bad nightly habits also make up a big reason why people reach for a second cup of coffee in the mornings.

Avoid electronics or bright screens an hour before bed, and keep your daily naps shorter than an hour. Also, set an alarm for when you should be going to bed so you can give yourself time to wind down and get plenty of much-needed sleep.

Getting organized can really cut your stress

Clean and organize your environment

A calendar or to-do list can really help keep your days organized, and cleaning your room or office can help alleviate stress in your day-to-day life. Keeping your home clean can not only keep you healthier by removing potential hazards, it can keep you more socially active.  You’re more inclined to have visitors over if you’re not secretly embarrassed about the mess in the living room. Also, having clutter on your desk can make you feel as if you have more work than you really do.

If you want to start 2017 on the right note, begin by cleaning up your desk and bedroom, and let your good habits build from there.

— Dominic Hernandez

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