How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

 It’s New Year’s resolutions time. Most of us will make a list of ways we promise to change in the new year. “Eat healthy” and “exercise more” will be on a lot of New Year’s resolutions lists. But will you manage to do that all year long?

Don’t worry about losing a specific amount of weight or bench-pressing a certain number of pounds. Make a declaration instead: a declaration that you’ll make better health a priority, not an occasional passing thought.

This year, try something that might work better: Think about what it means to be healthy and make little plans. 

Think in terms of more organization and small changes. These healthy plans can be easier to maintain. And success can lead to a healthier, happier you over time.

Here are six small changes and healthy living tips that can lead to better health overall, which is a good goal for all of us.

  1. Set the record straight.
    Create a personal health record (PHR). You probably visit different doctors and pharmacies throughout the year. Keep a list of all of those doctors and visits. Take it with you to all of your appointments. A PHR can make it easier to update each doctor about tests or medications prescribed by another doctor. Learn more about a PHR from the Mayo Clinic. And take a look at the Food and Drug Administration’s simple form to help manage medication lists. Keeping an easy-to-access, ongoing log of your health care can save you time, money and may even relieve stress. Which, by the way, is good for your health.

    A personal health record can be as detailed or simple as you’d like, but consider including:
     - Names and phone numbers of your health care providers
     - The information on your Blue Cross and Blue Shield card
     - Emergency contact numbers
     - Current medications (include any over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins and  supplements in addition to prescription drugs)
     - Allergies 
     - Recent surgeries or hospitalizations

  2. Schedule your appointments
    Schedule a “wellness” visit with your doctor. Do it early in the year. That way, you can discuss any health concerns with your doctor and make a plan for the year. Find out what preventive care you and your family will need and schedule the appointments.

    Ask your doctor about any health check-ups or screening tests you need. It’s important to catch diseases early, when they tend to be easier to treat. Then check your insurance plan by calling the number on the back of your Membership ID card. It’s possible your mammogram or colorectal cancer screening will be covered for free or with a copay or deductible.

    Remember: You will get more out of your doctor’s visit if you are honest. Tell your health care provider everything—even things that might be embarrassing. The more your doctor knows about you, the better the care he or she can provide. 

    And don’t forget to review the Blue Cross and Blue Shield wellness guidelines for adults and children.

  3. Learn something new.
    It’s never too late to learn. Find a hobby. Learn a new skill. Travel to a new place. Those things are not only fun, they are the exercise that keeps your brain in shape.

  4. Eat healthier. 
    Eating healthy is a worthy goal. But changing your diet dramatically can be difficult. You don’t need to give up red meat and become a vegetarian. Try small changes instead. Add a piece of fresh fruit or some vegetables to each meal. If it’s too hard to skip dessert completely, start by taking a smaller piece of the pie and savoring each bite.

  5. Get social.
    Generally, being around other people can have powerful health benefits. Join a club. Take a class. Volunteer in your community. All are easy ways to get out of the house and spend quality time with others. Even if you can’t get out, there are plenty of ways to take classes, interact with others, and even do volunteer work from home via your computer.
      
  6. Take a walk.
    “Exercise more” doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Even a little extra exercise can provide big benefits. Start small. Take a walk around the block. Then work your way up from there. Exercise can improve both your mood and memory; it can also help you sleep better, another boost for better health.

    Declare this year to be the year of taking care of you. Make your plan for better health now, and start getting it done. What New Year’s resolutions are you making for better health in the new year? What’s your strategy for keeping those resolutions throughout the seasons?

Sources: The Mayo ClinicDoctors Hospital at Renaissance

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