Jamaica Magazine

Healthy Resolution for the New Year

With the New Year upon us, let us make it our goal in 2004 to make healthy lifestyle choices.

In making your New Year’s Healthy Resolutions, first consider what disease or condition you are most at risk for then learn how you can reduce the chances of developing them.

If you know that a disease or condition runs in your family, visit your doctor for a screening test and avoid any factors that can increase your likelihood of getting that condition.

There are a few resolutions that everyone can benefit from. They include :

Smoke-free Living: Tobacco has been a leading cause of death. If you smoke, take whatever steps you can to stop smoking. See the Smoke Free Online Guide to Quitting. If you don’t smoke but people around you do, you may not be safe. Second-hand smoke may also put you at risk for certain conditions.

Eat Right and Exercise: A combination of a good diet and exercising regularly can help you stay healthy and reduce your risks of many conditions like obesity and early death. Set aside 30 minutes a day (for at least 3 times a day) for a physical activity such as walking. Eat foods low in fat and high in fiber. Speak to your doctor for more on proper nutrition and exercise.

Regular Doctor Visits: Visit your doctor and dentist for your yearly (or bi-annual) check-ups and tests. These visits can make a big difference in your health!

Manage your Stress, Anxiety and Depression:Mental health is very important to your general overall health. Getting more sunlight can alleviate your feelings of sadness. Also, surround yourself with positive people and don’t forget the relaxation techniques (try listening to music or meditating).

In addition to the above solutions, you may want to make your own “healthy” resolutions.

Now that you’ve made your resolutions, how do you stick to it? Here are 5 tips that can help you reach your goal:

  • Set realistic goals: Gradual change results in a greater chance of success.
  • Outline your goals: Keep a list of your goals. Write down how you will benefit from practicing healthy habits and what are the detriments to your health if you don’t. Writing down your goals can help you keep track of your accomplishments.
  • Share your plans with a friend: They can motivate you or even join you!
  • Reward yourself: For each goal accomplished, give yourself a reward. For example, if you lose that 5 pounds you set out to lose, treat yourself to a new CD or an outfit.
  • Allow for slip-ups: There are times that you will slip-up and it will be easy to give up. Learn from your mistakes and move on! Keep trying, and eventually, you will get it.

About the author

Deidre Patterson, MPH