New Year's resolutions are a bit like babies: They're fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain.
As the New Year and Christmas holidays get closer, so does the time for decisions that significantly change our lives!
It's hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you've swept up the confetti, but it's not impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick with it—here's how.
In this text, we will present you with the 8 healthiest decisions you can make and use them to improve your life habits, mood and health condition.
So let's go...
1. Start practicing healthy habits
You know what that means: eating healthier and starting an exercise routine. It sounds easy enough, but the fact that this is perennially among the most popular resolutions suggests just how difficult it is to commit to. But if you don't expect overnight success. "You want results yesterday, and desperation mode kicks in," says Pam Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. "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
Feel like old friends (or family) have fallen by the wayside? It's good for your health to reconnect with them. Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer than those who don't. In fact, a lack of social bonds can damage your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking, and even more than obesity and lack of exercise. 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 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. "It's one of the harder habits to quit," says Merle Myerson, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, in New York City. "But I always tell people to think of how much money they will save."
4. Cut your stress
A little pressure now and again won't kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress give us an energy boost. But if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of—or worsen and more.
Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, MD, 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."
We tend to think our own bliss relies on bettering ourselves, but our happiness also increases when we help others, Peter Kanaris, PhD, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association, tells Health.
And guess what? Happiness is good for your health. A 2010 found that people with positive emotions were about 20% less likely than their gloomier peers to have a heart attack or develop . Other research suggests that positive emotions can make people more resilient and resourceful.
6. Go back to school
No matter how old you are, heading back to the classroom 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. What's more, several studies have linked higher educational attainment to a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
7. 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 excess affects the brain's neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures. Even more: Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast. The bottom line: It's best to start limiting your nightcaps.
8. Get more sleep
Sleep is a very important factor in the health of all of us. Try to improve your sleep, lie down at a reasonable time and always provide yourself with 6 to 8 hours of sleep.