Picture this. You’re at a holiday party, and someone brings up New Year’s resolutions. Do you have one? Will you actually stick to it this time?
We all know someone who has given up their vague “go to the gym more” goal before January 1st even rolls around. Maybe it’s us.
It’s time to revolutionize your resolutions with attainable goals (and broken down steps) you can actually accomplish in 2020.
With so many health websites at your fingertips, it can be easy to search your symptoms online and find the worst diagnosis. But nothing beats being proactive and getting officially screened, especially if you have a history of different illnesses or conditions in your family.
- Get Screened for Type 2 Diabetes: The American Diabetes Association encourages you to take this quick online test to see if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes
- Get Screened for Lung Cancer: If you are an older current or former smoker, talk to your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer. Medicare covers those who are at the highest risk.
- Get a Colonoscopy: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, personal history of polyps, or have lifestyle risk factors like obesity or smoking, ask your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy. It’s a great way for people age 50 or older to prevent colon cancer. It may even save your life!
Health screenings are usually recommended based on age and other risk factors. Talk to your doctor about what health screenings they recommend for you—including mammograms, blood pressure screenings, and more.
Work on mind and body this year!
- Exercise your brain: There’s no known way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but doctors encourage you to keep your brain active. Pick a couple days a week or a specific time in your day to do crossword puzzles or brain games. You can get your friends and family involved in this resolution by playing games like chess or bridge.
- Exercise your body: Dr. Wilson Mertens of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program says even "moderately vigorous" walking 3-5 hours per week (or 30 minutes most days of the week) can lower rates of breast and colorectal cancer. You don’t have to run a marathon every week. Just commit to doing more than what you are right now.
The key to achieving your goals may be breaking it down into smaller, achievable, and measureable steps.
What is "achievable"?
“Achievable” is defined by you. If you know you can’t make it to the gym seven days a week, don’t make that a goal. Start off with going two days a week and work your way up. That way, you don’t get as discouraged, and you have small victories to celebrate.
The same can be applied to mental exercise goals. Don’t promise yourself you’ll become a grandmaster at chess. Take a month to learn the rules. Take a month to play mini games. Take a month to play against a computer. You’ll get there.
Get a fresh start in the new year by having a tidy home. This could help reduce asthma triggers and reduce the chances of accidents and injuries.
- Deep clean your house: Scrubbing down your entire home can seem daunting. Break up the cleaning into smaller chunks. Clean the junk drawer one week (and don’t keep throwing things in there!), and clean out your closet the next.
- Make cleaning a routine: Write a list of all of the things that need to get done and put them in your calendar as “appointments.” That could mean vacuuming happens every Tuesday after work. You could book yourself a “dusting date” every Thursday morning, making sure to tackle one room a week with a damp cloth.
What does a healthy new year look like to you?
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