Look Into Your Future
It’s that time of year again — New Year’s Resolution season! This is the perfect opportunity to work on your self-improvement goals. If you’ve had trouble keeping your resolutions in the past, here are some tried-and-true ways to make them stick:
- Start by writing down your goal.
- Be specific, and describe exactly what success looks like.
- Break the goal down into smaller parts to give yourself a roadmap to success.
- When you reach a goal or milestone, celebrate the moment.
Use these methods to follow through on some important wellness-related goals this year: Get preventive screenings, maintain a healthy weight, take your medications as directed, get plenty of sleep, and avoid overusing alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, etc.
Schedule Your Next Checkup
Many people think there’s no need to visit a doctor if they’re feeling well. In reality, regular preventive screenings are essential to maintaining your overall health for the long term. Routine checkups can reveal hidden signs of serious medical problems, such as cancer or heart disease. The earlier your doctor catches them, the better outcome you’ll have. Start the new year off right by scheduling a routine physical with your doctor.
Watch Your Weight
Obesity is a widespread public health problem. According to studies conducted between 2017 and 2020, about 42 percent of American adults are obese. Serious health conditions linked to obesity include some types of cancer, heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
A person’s body mass index (BMI), his or her weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person’s height in meters, is a key measure. In general, health experts consider a BMI over 25 to indicate a person is overweight. A BMI over 30 indicates obesity.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight:
- Choose water instead of soda.
- Get your steps in. Park farther away from your destination, and take the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Cook healthy meals at home more often. Pay attention to your portions.
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.
- Exercise is essential. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.
Take Medications as Prescribed
Failure to take prescribed medications is a serious problem in the health care community. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this issue causes up to 50 percent of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year. The CDC says patients don’t take medications as prescribed 50 percent of the time. If you’re having trouble taking your medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. You might also:
- Make it a part of your daily routine. For instance, take your medication after you brush your teeth each morning.
- Use a pill container and refill it at the same time each week.
- Use a calendar to track whether you’ve taken your medication each day.
Get Enough Sleep
We might take sleep for granted, but it’s every bit as important to your overall wellness as diet and exercise. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day. In the short term, a lack of sleep can affect your mood, memory and alertness level. Research has linked chronic sleep deprivation to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke.
To help improve your sleep, experts recommend:
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends.
- Making sleep a priority.
- Avoiding screens before bedtime.
Get Help With Substance Abuse Disorder
Millions of Americans deal with substance abuse disorder, defined as clinically significant impairment caused by the frequent use of drugs or alcohol. For many people, it can cause health problems and interfere with the regular activities of daily living. There are many resources available to help. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a 24-hour helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357).
Want to cut back on your drinking? Many people kick off the new year by abstaining from alcohol for “Dry January.” Research has shown eliminating alcohol for even one month can bring health benefits such as increased energy, improved sleep and weight loss. Boost your chances for success with these tips:
- Find a favorite replacement drink, such as sparkling water or a nonalcoholic cocktail.
- Build morale by starting a support group.
- Remove any alcohol from your home.
Whether you resolve to take 10,000 steps a day or go to bed early each night, make sure your goals are realistic and sustainable. Here’s to a healthier you in 2023!
The CDC and SAMHSA are independent organizations that provide health information you may find helpful.