Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. As we all know, a much smaller percentage of those people actually make good on those New Year's resolutions. A 2002 study found that while about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months after.
It's hard to keep the enthusiasm going after the decorations have been taken down and the confetti has been swept, but it isn't impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions recommended by Reader's Digest and stick with it!
Here's to your health!
1. Control Your Portions
Want to downsize your figure? Start downsizing your dishes. Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promote weight loss because they help to curb overeating.
2. Be Active
One habit naturally slim people share is their ability to stay in motion. Try to inject each day with more activity (adults should aim for 30 minutes daily). The opportunities are endless once you've developed the right mindset.
3. Slash Sodium Consumption
Studies show many Americans consume close to twice the recommended limit of sodium, which is a teaspoon (or 6 grams) daily. Besides contributing to water retention (think bloat!), sodium can raise blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most, so make sure to read labels. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, but are also associated with lower hypertension and weight management.
4. Increase Antioxidants
When your body breaks down food it produces molecules called free radicals. Cigarette smoke and radiation also produce free radicals. Over time, the damage from these substances can result in conditions like infection, cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. That's where antioxidants step in. How the American Dietetic Association sums up their role: Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C (an antioxidant), it stays white. You can defend your body the same way by including rich sources in your diet. Pomegranates, coffee, and even chocolate contain antioxidants.
5. Quit Smoking Already
For smokers, quitting may be the hardest resolution to stick with because it is so challenging. If you consider the benefits, and take advantage of today's resources, this could be the year you successfully become a nonsmoker. The National Cancer Institute's smokefree.gov website is a good resource to bookmark.
6. Floss Your Teeth
Like many people, you may not know that bacteria in your mouth can lead to serious problems if you neglect oral health. You may also be surprised to learn that during routine exams, your dentist can spot indications of diabetes and heart disease. One simple thing you can do to head off bacteria is floss your teeth.
7. Wear Sunscreen...All Year
Sun exposure affects everyone. According to the National Cancer Institute most skin cancer develops after age 50, though sun damage starts at an early age. The sun's rays are also behind brown spots, and can make wrinkles appear before their time. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, even in the winter, anywhere skin is laid bare to the elements. Also, be sure to wear good sunglasses, and make sure your kids are, too.
8. Strength Train
In simply 10 minutes a day you could gain more energy, stronger bones, and a faster metabolism - and you don't even need to pick up any dumbbells. Here are four strength training exercises you can try without any equipment. Adding these moves to your exercise program will help you burn more calories in less time.
9. Expect Good Things From Yourself
Having healthy expectations for yourself is important to both your physical and mental health. Obviously, that's easier said than done. A mean-spirited inner-critic can ruin relationships, keep you from reaching personal goals, and cramp your ability to be an active participant in your life.
Whether you're managing an illness, or just looking for ways to stay healthy, we wholeheartedly agree with this Reader's Digest list. We believe that #10 is missing from the list, though.
10. Take control of your family health information
Whether you enter your information yourself, or rely on a service like CareSync Plus to do it for you, now's the time to get your healthcare ducks in a row. The CareSync app is free to use, and the optional healthcare concierge services are priced to meet all budgets. CareSync Health Assistants will even help you get up-to-date on routine and referral doctor's appointments!