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New Year’s Resolutions You Owe Yourself

In our quest to find the best New Year’s Resolutions for life, we questioned medical professionals and consulted the scientific literature.

Every year, more than a few people resolve to make a change on New Year’s Day. Or at least their self-indulgent ways of living. Scientific American Body has compiled this list of resolutions that are based on scientific literature and advice from health professionals. It will help you to understand why almost nothing you can do could have a greater impact on your quality of life, regardless of your goals.

The best resolution for New Year is to come up with a strategy that will help you tackle each one of the five below. According to Frederick Gibbons, a health psychologist at Iowa State University, New Year’s resolutions are often unsuccessful because people only make superficial commitments. You need a plan to change the behavior you are trying to change.

People might plan to avoid situations or cues that could lead to them succumbing to social pressure. Gibbons suggests that tempting foods could also be included. Social support is essential. Warren Franke, the director of Iowa State’s Exercise Clinic believes that success in weight loss or exercise could be achieved by enlisting a partner or friend to help you work out or follow a formal program.

Controlling drinking may even require taking part in a behavior-modification treatment, Gibbons adds.

Franke suggests that you set short-term goals when making these resolutions. For example, you might lose just one pound per week. Don’t let yourself feel sorry for yourself if you find yourself falling, like when you try that delicious cheesecake. Accept the fact that it was a bad day, and accept that tomorrow will be better. Reward yourself. It’s too important to have fun in this short life. Mind you, don’t buy six Ben & Jerry scoops. My friend buys People magazine if she has lost weight. It’s an easy pleasure that she enjoys and works.

1 Stay Active
Exercise three times per week for 30 minutes has been shown to reduce cardiac morbidity, mortality, and other health issues by as much as 10 percent.

Your pulse must be above 100 beats per hour to reap the full benefits of exercise. This is more difficult than a walk where you may stop at every corner and not get a chance for your pulse to rise. Franke agrees with Franke and suggests that you engage in any exercise that you like enough to do regularly and that increases your heart rate. This could be walking with a friend or taking a high-intensity aerobics class at a private fitness club.

2 Eat Healthy
Feltheimer states that lowering cholesterol intake by 20% and reducing total cholesterol to 180 can reduce a person’s chance of developing heart disease. Franke states that healthy diets should contain at least five portions of fruits and veggies per day. He explains that this will ensure you get more vitamins, minerals, which is something most people don’t do. It will also likely increase your fiber intake. You will be less likely to snack on snacks or cheat, and it will be more filling.

3 Ways to Quit Smoking
This is the advice that you’ve probably heard for most of your adult life. Despite all the warnings, the number one cause of death from smoking in America is still smoking. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco will account for 10% of all deaths by 2015. This is 50 percent more than HIV. It is a common New Year’s resolution, but it is one that many people fail to make.

4 Drink judiciously
Over two million Americans have liver disease due to excessive drinking. This is defined as more than two drinks per day for men and one for women. Drinking excessively increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and inflammation of the liver.

5 Relieve Stress
Franke explains that we know for years that chronic stress can lead to premature death. This is even though there are other factors such as high blood pressure or not taking care of ourselves. Some physiological mechanisms are obvious. Your body produces cytokines and other inflammatory agents when you are stressed. Chronic stress can cause your body to produce cytokines and other inflammatory agents to an abnormal level, beyond what it was designed to handle. This causes the body to become weaker.

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