The end of the year is a popular time for reflection and making plans for the year ahead. Different surveys show different numbers, but the undisputed consensus is that most resolutions fail by February. The reasons for “Quitters’ Day,” which falls on the second Friday in January, vary with every individual. However, some goals are worth keeping.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is also the hardest to keep. Exercising is a challenge because it’s hard to stick with. “It really is a lifestyle change because of the amount of effort you have to put in,” Alyson Pidich, medical director of the Ash Center, said. The best solution to the problem is to just start moving more and progressively increase the the amount of daily physical activity.
The biggest mistake people make when planning health goals for the following year is focusing too much on “how” and not at all on “why,” according to Dr. Daryl Gioffre, a New York City nutritionist and author of “Get Off Your Acid.” Eating better and going to the gym are not sustainable unless you have a powerful motivation to eat better and go to the gym, he noted.
Gioffre suggested the SMART approach when listing resolutions — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. You have to make it really practical and convenient for your lifestyle, and you have to set a deadline. “A goal without a specific time is only a wish,” he added.
The following list, in no particular order, is based on interviews 24/7 Wall St. did with doctors who specialize in disciplines ranging from nutrition to internal medicine and cardiology.
1. Visit your doctor
It’s shocking how many people are just not seeing a doctor because they either can’t get time off or don’t prioritize their health, Dr. Renee Dua, the chief medical officer and co-founder of Heal, noted. There are medical centers, including Heal, that are open on weekends or have doctors available after hours. “It is shocking how little effort people put into understanding their illness,” Nauman Mushtaq, MD, MS, medical director of cardiology, Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, said. “This is especially important for chronic diseases where a large part of staying healthy is lifestyle modifications.”
2. Talk about mental health
Make sure you have a talk with your doctor about pressures you feel at work or home, about possible signs of depression you may be exhibiting, and about lack of sleep, if that’s an issue, Dua said. “Psychiatrists often don’t take insurance, which makes treatment very expensive, but [general practitioners] are the first step and can initiate treatment by talking about the problem and maybe prescribing medication,” she added.
3. Get screened for cancer
You don’t even need a referral for a mammogram if you’re older than 40, or for a colonoscopy if you’re 50 or older, so you really should get screened if you are over a certain age, especially if you have a family history of cancer. Annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed imaging is also recommended for smokers, even if they have quit for years, and for people between 55 and 80, according to Dua.
4. Check your cholesterol
It’s a mistake not to get your cholesterol checked if you are older than 35, Dua noted. Adults should check their cholesterol levels every four to six years, according to the CDC. High levels of the fatty substance in your blood, which show no symptoms, are a major contributor to heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer in the country. The body makes the cholesterol it needs, but people get extra amounts from the foods, such as fatty meats, they consume.
Read Complete Article here to read the rest of the 40 health resolutions.