Somewhere during the last week of December the question on everyone’s lips turns from the fun and festive “What are you asking Santa for this year?” to the somewhat dreaded “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” Sometimes the question can feel more like an insult than a conversation starter. By the end of February, most of us have already forgotten what our resolutions were. Either they were too difficult (I’m going to become a radical vegan!), too unrealistic (I’m going to volunteer at the shelter every weekend!) or they simply don’t bring us joy (I’m going to do the dishes every night!). If you’re serious about making positive changes this year, adopt an achievable resolution that really will make your life better.
New Year’s Resolutions you can Live With
1. Lose Weight
Yeah, right, you might be thinking. But if you’re among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, losing even a few pounds can offer great benefits. Did you know that every one pound of weight loss removes four pounds of pressure from knee joints? What a difference! And shedding just 10 percent of your total weight lowers your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A 10 percent loss will also increase your energy levels and make you feel more confident and healthier overall. Maybe the idea of losing 30 or 50 or 100 pounds this year seems so impossible you want to give up the fight by dinner time, but a weight loss goal of 10 percent is not only reasonable, it benefits your health and your self-esteem.
2. Get Social
Yes, they’re called social networks, but time spent on Facebook or Twitter is not a substitute for face-to-face social relationships. A study by the National Institutes of Health concludes that the quality of a person’s social relationships has a direct impact on their health. Even when other factors are accounted for, people with the lowest level of social involvement are more likely to die early than their connected counterparts. Heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, cancer and even wound healing is positively affected when the patient has strong social involvement. So make 2016 your year to hang out with friends, attend church, join a club or volunteer. Don’t do it because you “should,” do it because it’s good for your health.
3. Take More Naps
Sleep deprivation has hit a crucial point among Americans. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, 20 percent of Americans average fewer than six hours of sleep each night. A chronic lack of sleep is dangerous to your health and is potentially dangerous to our society. Sleep deficits may lead to:
- Anger and mood disorders
- Auto accidents
- Decreased attention span
- Heart disease
- Poor work performance
- Relationship problems
- Weight gain