Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions. I think that if you decide to do something good, you should start right away. Not wait for some magical time. Don’t delay, procrastinate and waste time. Just start your new habit.

If you are a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, here are some that I think you should consider:

1. Stop smoking! This is the single most important lifestyle modification that will make the biggest impact on your life. Stop hookah, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, whatever it is…. Just stop! Nothing makes a bigger impact on your health and future than quitting smoking. If you have already tried quitting, try again! Most people try quitting 7-11 times before they finally kick the habit. It is the hardest addiction to break, we know that. But you have to fight it! I can’t tell you how bad it is. Every patient I’ve had who has had a heart attack under the age of 50 has been a smoker! Smoking runs in families. If you smoke, your kids are more likely to smoke. Of all the things your kids could inherit, don’t let this be one of them. People who smoke are dumber, have lower IQs, are more likely to be depressed and have mental issues, and teens that smoke are more likely to be obese adults. Please stop this God awful habit.

2. Stop eating! I know you aren’t going to start an exercise program. Our lives are busy. We can squeeze in some exercise once or twice a week if we try. That’s just life. Instead, stop eating! Eighty-five percent of your body composition is what you eat. The last 10-15% can be fixed by exercise. If you want to look good and lose weight, stop eating so much. I like to use substitution. Substitute good things for bad. Instead of mayonaise, use mustard. Instead of ground beef, use ground turkey. Instead of butter, use oil. Instead of white bread, use multigrain. Instead of sugar, use splenda. Salad instead of potatoes. Veggies instead of fries.

All diets work! Just pick one and do it! Atkins, Low Fat, Zone, Southbeach, Weight Watchers, whatever it is….. just pick one and do it! They all work. Pick one you can actually do! Then….. eat like that forever! A diet is not temporary! Do you breathe temporarily? A diet is a lifelong committment. Just do it!

3. Start moving! I realize that it’s hard to get people to move and exercise. Just try to get moving somehow. Get an exercise bike or something. Get a health club membership (and actually use it). Get your kids and friends involved. Pick up a new hobby or sport that involves activity. Biking, weight-lifting, hiking, climbing, basketball, golf, anything. Exercise helps your mental health, mood, longevity, waist size, and overall wellbeing! Just do it!

4. Stay out of the sun! If you don’t want wrinkles and don’t want to age, steer clear of UV rays. It’s that simple.

5. Change your worst characteristic! Figure out what you hate about yourself. Or what people hate about you. And change it! What is it that you do that you wish you could change? Temper? Lying? Condescending? Not romantic? Arrogance? Non-commital? Ignorant? Racist? Get better!

6. Change careers! If you hate your job and your life…. now is a great time to quit and be what you’ve always wanted to be. Stop making yourself (and everyone else at work) miserable. Take classes, move to a new city, explore your dreams!

7. Adopt a charity! If you don’t give to charity…. you should. Find a cause you like and decide to adopt that cause. Find a charity for that cause and give them financial support as well as volunteer your time. It can be anything!

8. Spend more time with family! If you haven’t seen your parents, grandparents, kids, spouse, cousins, whatever it is…. find them, call them, spend time with them. I am sure we all do this anyways, but put in some extra effort this year.

9. Stop spending! You don’t have to buy everything on earth that you want. You don’t need 300 pairs of shoes! You don’t need 5 computers. You don’t need new speakers. You don’t need that dress. You don’t need a new car. Stop spending this year, and save. Americans affinity for saving is only 5%. We only save 5% of what we make. Is that not insane? Find discount stores and purchase thing online if you need them. You don’t need “brand name” everything. Get the Target, Walmart, Jewel, or Aldi version. They are all made in the same factory anyways and are exactly the same. Spend less! Only buy things you need! Make that a goal this year! You will be very happy!

10. Reconnect! Find someone from your past and reconnect. In a genuine sense. See what they are up to or how they have been doing. See if they want to hang out. Facebook has brought the present and past together. Find some old friends and hang out.

11. Visit someone sick. If any of your friends or family members are ill, pay them a visit. This is rewarding for you and very uplifting for them.

12. Help someone out! Someone needs a contact, needs a letter of recommendation, needs a phone number…. help someone out! If their life is made better, so will yours!

If you think of anything else, start right away. Don’t wait a year!