Ten steps to a healthy new you in the New Year

About 45 percent of us will make resolutions this week. And, about 8 percent of us will actually achieve our goals. Such is the information that the University of Scranton published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology a week or so ago. But don’t be down, the up side is that almost half of us (49 percent) will succeed at achieving some portion of our resolutions. Will that be you?

The trick is to be reasonable about what you want to do. These are the top ten resolutions for a healthier New Year as recommended by Health.com. Choose the one(s) that apply to you and, as they say, go for it!

1. Lose weight. “The fact that this is perennially among the most popular resolutions suggests just how difficult it is to commit to. But you can succeed if you don’t expect overnight success,” Health.com says.

So, what to do? Keep a what-you-eat journal so you can cut back on high calorie, low nutrition valued foods. Watch how often you eat fast foods and limit your intake of soft drinks even so-called diet ones. Read labels and control your portions.

2. Quit smoking. Sure, it might help to reduce the amount of tobacco you use, but the best idea is to just cut it out. We all know that it can be hard, so get help from your primary healthcare provider.

And, if you’re using an e-cigarette to get your nicotine blast, quit that too, particularly before the blast is the battery blowing up in your pocket!

3. Get more exercise. Buying a gym membership doesn’t do you any good unless you use it. So plan accordingly. Figure out when during your busy day you can take an hour to exercise. Then do it.

Oh, so you don’t have an hour? Go online and check out 7 Minute Workout. No equipment needed and you can do it at your desk. It’s fun, try it.

Then take the stairs; park your car at least a block away from where you’re going, and when the stress of life starts to make you feel tense, take a walk. Thirty minutes of walking is very good for you.

4. Reduce stress. Be aware of feeling like you’re at your wit’s end. Make lists to help you prioritize your tasks. Take a time out — good time for that walk, right? Get a good night’s sleep. Learn how to say “no.” Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.

5. Take charge of your health. Make an appointment to have a complete physical examination. Know your numbers. Get up-to-date on your vaccinations including those for pertussis, pneumonia and shingles. If you haven’t already, get a flu shot. Enough said.

6. Follow simple safety precautions. For instance, buckle up your seat belt every time you get into a vehicle whether or not you’re driving. The Centers for Disease Control states that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. Who isn’t wearing them? The 18 to 34 year olds. Men are 10 percent less likely to wear them than women.

7. Wear the correct safety gear for your sport. No excuses. Protect your body from a trip to emergency department.

8. Wash your hands. It’s flu season. The best protection, besides that flu shot, is to keep your hands clean. After you shake hands, touch a basket in the grocery store or see someone sneeze, wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based sanitizer when you can’t wash.

9. Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen when out of doors even in the winter when the sun’s rays can be particularly harmful. Moisturize to prevent chapping. Wear weather-appropriate clothing, including gloves to protect your hands.

10. Limit your use of alcohol. You know the drill. No more than two drinks for a guy and one for a gal. Celebrate New Year’s Eve, but moderately. Only you can prevent Sunday’s hangover. If you need more help than an aspirin can provide, go to www.district14-aa.org or call 800-326-2164.

Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.