As 2011 slowly comes to a close, the prospect of a new year brings both hope and regret. Another year has come and gone, leaving me contemplating the New Year’s resolutions from previous years that were quickly thrown aside weeks, even days, after they were written. However, losing both my father and stepfather this year to cancer has reminded me of how important living a healthy lifestyle truly is. Although I know that I can’t predict what the future holds, I want more than ever to give myself the best chances of living a long and happy life. Consequently, I will be focusing on 5 very important health resolutions throughout the coming year.
Health Resolution # 1: Eat More Healthily
A million times a day I’m telling my kids to reach for healthier snacks and about the importance of getting enough fruits and vegetables each day. Yet, with my days becoming more and more hectic, I’m turning into a giant hypocrite. Instead of reaching for fresh fruit, cereal , or anything remotely healthy when I get the munchies, I find myself grabbing a candy bar or chips to save time. But as my waistline increases, I know things must change in 2012. During the next year, I plan to ban junk food from my house. If it isn’t here, obviously it won’t be convenient. Also, instead of ordering fast food or takeout on hectic days, I’m investing in a bigger slow cooker and researching healthy recipe ideas. That way I’ll have nutritious but delicious meals waiting for me and my family at the end of the day.
Health Resolution #2: Become More Active
When I was a teen I remember the satisfaction and energy I used to get from exercising every day. Running, weightlifting, hiking, mountain biking–it was what I looked forward to on a daily basis. But now that I’m older, I’ve let my discipline slack and shudder at the effort it’ll take to get back in shape. Nonetheless, in 2012 I will be making sure I set aside even 15 minutes a day to be active. Already, I have purchased a new yoga DVD and mat as a Christmas present for myself and have been dusting off my exercise equipment in the basement.
Health Resolution #3: Quit Avoiding Checkups
Probably my worst habit is dodging regular health checkups. The fact is I’m not getting any younger, and my family’s health history looks like a medical textbook. My father and stepfather were the same way, and there’s a chance that if they had followed through with their doctors better, their cancers might’ve been found sooner and treated better. Ultimately, we can’t change what life deals us, but we can keep an eye on our risk factors by listening to our doctors and going through with the regular checkups and tests they recommend.
Health Resolution #4: Take Time to Unwind
Hypertension is a big problem in my family, and my doctor has told me over and over again about the importance of finding effective ways to deal with daily stress. Although my blood pressure is still at a healthy level, I have noticed that I get frazzled and lose my temper a lot easier than I used to. In the past, I’ve found reading, long hot baths, and board games with the family have the power to ease even the toughest stress. Consequently, in 2012, I’m determined to set time aside every day to do something enjoyable for myself.
Health Resolution #5: Stop Making Excuses
Finally, I am going to promise myself that I’m no longer allowed to make excuses for not developing a healthier lifestyle. Each time I’m tempted to be a couch potato, I’m going to remind myself of how unhappy I’ve become with my body and energy levels. Each time I delay scheduling an appointment I know I need, I’ll remember the pain I went through watching my father and stepfather suffer with cancer. And each time I try to convince myself that it’s okay to procrastinate, I’ll consider the fact that I’m a living example, teaching my children how they should live and helping them develop habits that can last a lifetime.