New Year’s resolutions for your health
Once the champagne corks have been popped to welcome in the new year, you often hear people name their resolutions for the new year. Some want to lose weight, others want to tick off an item on their bucket list or another vows to tighten their personal finance belt.
Many people’s new year’s resolutions fade away even before the year reaches its second week. Others are kept for a month of two before it dies a silent death. But if you set measurable goals that are realistic, new year’s resolutions could be lasting and impact your life positively.
However, resolutions that benefit your health and well-being do not have to be limited to the new year. Any positive change that you make for the sake of your health could improve your quality of life and possibly contribute to living a full and happy life.
Here are a few new year’s resolutions for your health that you could implement in 2016:
- Be sun smart
For many people, summer is synonymous with sun, beach and holiday. However, protecting yourself from the sun should definitely be a priority, not only at the start of the year but also during the colder months. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), skin cancer is one of the most common cancer types in our country. Cansa give the following sun smart tips:
- Avoid sunlight between 10:00 and 15:00. Stay in the shade or, as far as possible, under an umbrella.
- Wear protective clothing: closely woven wide-brimmed hats and ultraviolet or UV protective clothing or swimwear.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection of UV 400.
- Apply sunscreen often according to skin type and use a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of 20 to 50.
- Avoid sunbeds and sunlamps.
- Take stock of your health
Visit your nearest clinic or private doctor to have a thorough examination and check your general health. Have your blood pressure, blood glucose (sugar) and iron levels tested and also get tested for HIV – especially if you do not know your status. Local clinics often host wellness days where visitors’ general health is assessed free of charge. If you have a chance, take part in one these days and be aware of your health condition. You could also remind yourself to visit the dentist and optometrist, especially if you had a dentist visit more than six months ago or had your eyes tested more than two years ago.
- Set a goal to acquire at least one good habit
Usually it takes three weeks to acquire a habit, good or bad. If you actively make a point of acquiring a small but good habit, it could become part of your lifestyle and help you live healthier. You could, for example, remind yourself to floss your teeth every day or drink at least two to three glasses of water daily, in addition to your normal fluid intake. To help you get into the habit, you could, for example, set an alarm on your cellphone to remind you to do something. Before long, you would have acquired a good habit that holds good health benefits for you in the long run.
- Eat healthy
Eating healthy is a very vague resolution, but you could personalise it by setting a specific goal for yourself. If you like to have a second helping of food after you finished your plate, you could, for example, set a goal to dish up only once during a meal. Or, if you are not big on breakfast, you could set a goal to at least have a small portion of food, such as a small tub of yoghurt, at a specific time as breakfast. Share your resolution with your family so that they could support you and remind you of your goals. If another member of the family, for example, is also not big on breakfast, you could remind each other to have breakfast.
It might sound cliché, but try getting a good balance in your diet by eating the correct amounts of all five food groups. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables, starches such as bread, dairy products such as milk and yoghurt, protein such as meat, and healthy fats. If you make a resolution to eat more vegetables and fruit, it is also good idea to eat those fruit and vegetables that are in season. For example, oranges are in season during the winter months when we tend to get colds and flu. Oranges are also rich in vitamin C which helps to recover from these illnesses.
If you are a chronic patient, consult a dietician to help you follow the correct diet for your chronic condition. For example, if you are diabetic or have high blood pressure, a correct diet could help you control the symptoms.
There are many things you could do to maintain a healthier lifestyle and your personal circumstances will determine which goals are attainable and practical. Take time at the start of the year to decide what your resolutions, or rather goals, are for the year and then decide how you will attain them.
All the best for the new year!
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