Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

New Years resolutions are hard.  Many people start the New Year off with a large list only to get frustrated and give up after a couple of weeks. Try to pick ONE instead of a long list. You will be more successful if you pick a specific goal and share this goal with friends and family for support. We found this great article on Huffington's Post website about the top resolutions to keep.

Here is a condensed version of their list:
1. Lose Weight - Pick a goal weight that is realistic. "Beware of the valley of quickie cures." 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. "Around week four to six...people become excuse mills," Dr. Peeke says. "That’s why it’s important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times."

2. Stay in Touch - In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch -- or rejuvenate your relationship -- with friends and family, so fire up Facebook and follow up with in-person visits.

3. 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 enormous health benefits.)

4. Save Money - Cut back on gym membership costs by exercising at home. Many fitness programs on videogame systems like Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox Kinect can get you sweating. Take stock of what you have in the fridge and make a grocery list. Aimless supermarket shopping can lead to poor choices for your diet and wallet.

5.Cut Your Stress - Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City, and the author of "The Super Stress Solution". "Stress is an inevitable part of life," she says. "Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things we tell ourselves we deserve but don't allow ourselves to have." 

6.Travel - The joys and rewards of vacations can last long after the suitcase is put away. "We can often get stuck in a rut, and we can't get out of our own way," Kanaris says. "Everything becomes familiar and too routine." But traveling allows us to tap into life as an adventure, and we can make changes in our lives without having to do anything too bold or dramatic. "It makes you feel rejuvenated and replenished," Kanaris adds. "It gets you out of your typical scenery, and the effects are revitalizing. It's another form of new discovery and learning, and great for the body and the soul."

7.Volunteer - We tend to think that we can make ourselves happy by doing things for ourselves, but we are happier when we are doing things for others, like through volunteer work, says Peter Kanaris, Ph.D, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association. And guess what? Happiness is good for your health.

8.Go Back to School - No matter how old you are, heading back to the classroom can have a range of benefits. Getting a degree or just taking a few courses can help revamp your career, introduce you to new friends, and even boost your brainpower. A 2007 study found that middle-age adults who had gone back to school (including night school) sometime in the previous quarter century had stronger memories and verbal skills than those who did not.

9.Cut Back on Alcohol - While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, too much tippling is still the bigger problem. (In fact, binge drinking seems to be on the rise.) Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain's neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures.

10.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. And sleep is crucial for strengthening memories (a process called consolidation). So take a nap -- and don't feel guilty about it.


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