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New Year Resolutions

Feeling a little bored, I wanted to see how I’d look with a mustache for the New Year

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”  ~Peter Marshall

I began 2017 with a small New Year’s resolution. I kicked off the year by participating in a 5K run/walk. I walked it. I stayed on track with my health goals for awhile. Then my parents got sicker, my father died, and I got off track. Eventually I got back on track, and then my chronic spine problems kicked in.

Here I am at the end of 2017, and I am not where I was in the beginning of the year. If you are like me, your stomachs are groaning with too much food. Your body aches because of inertia. Your mind is in a stupor from being off track. You may be wondering when you are going to make some healthier changes.

We all know that we are supposed to exercise, eat better, and maintain a normal weight, but doing these things ia easier said than done. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, things can get out of control, and before you know it, you are feeling lousy. This is when many of us say, “I’ll get back on track January 1st. No, wait, let’s make that the 2nd. But I have plans for Martin Luther King weekend, so I’ll get back on track after that. Better make that after Valentine’s Day…” And if you are Irish, you may have to wait until after St. Paddy’s day.

In the meantime, your body is not happy. It doesn’t like the extra demand that sugar, fat, and junk food place on it. Those holiday treats are now holiday threats.

There is no time like the present to take charge. You don’t have to wait until January first to make a resolution. Nearly half of all adults make New Year resolutions. People have been making annual resolutions since the Romans. While I am not sure what Romans were resolving (no drinking while driving chariots), I do know that most New Year resolutions are health-related.

If you think that resolutions fail, think again. According to John Norcross, author of Changeology, 40 to 44 percent of New Year resolutions are successful after six months. People who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change than those who don’t make resolutions. So, although more resolutions fail in the first six months than succeed, the commitment process has a decent track record.

You may be thinking, “Does this person know ANYTHING about how lousy I feel? I can barely get my laundry done, let alone exercise. Even thinking about physical activity makes me tired.”  Believe me I understand. I am not suggesting that you run a marathon; I am suggesting that you make small, achievable changes. Small change is better than no change.

Maybe you don’t want to exercise, but perhaps you are willing to add just a little more activity in to your life, such as walking in place every time there is a commercial on TV.  If pain or other health issues are holding you back from exercise, how about focusing on your diet? What about committing to a sugar-free Mediterranean diet for one or more days a week? Or learning about food labels, reading them, and making more careful choices about what you buy? Or resolving to go to bed earlier so you get more sleep?  If you get sufficient sleep, you are making a huge contribution to your health.

The healthier you are, the easier it is to live with chronic illness. The more you do to take care of your health, the more likely you are to reap some benefits. We all get one body, and the better we care for it, the more we profit from this care. There has never been a better time to take control. Let’s see where we all are in 2018. Hopefully I will be writing about our successes.

Wising you a happy, healthy New Year.

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