Five (realistic and easy) New Year's Resolutions for a Healthier You.
You might wonder why I am posting this blog about New Year's Resolutions on January 18th. Perhaps you were thinking I have been meaning to do it, but ended up procrastinating until after more than half the month is over. Good thought, but no. (And I have resolved previously never to procrastinate.) The real reason is I heard on John Tesh's radio show (so it has to be true, right?) that this is about the date the average person gives up on their New Year's resolutions.
It's true; most New Year's Resoltutions have the shelf life of unrefrigerated fish. The reason for this is that they are either: 1) poorly thought out; 2) too invloved; 3) wholly unrealsitic; 4) completely out of character for the person making them. Don't follow? Here are some examples (all taken from my patients, who shall remains nameless.) Example one: a guy, who lives entirely on fast food, resolving to make all of his own meals. He lasted a few days. Example two; a woman, with no previous history of ever doing exercise, getting a gym membership. Lasted a week.
This isn't to say, though, that I don't encourage New Year's Resolutions, because I do. I am a big fan of anything that provides an opportunity for self-assessment, because self-assessment is the necessary first step for self-improvement.
Okay, then, since we have agreed that making New Year's Resolutions is a good idea, here are some ideas for resolutions that have a chance to survive more than eighteen days.
1) Resolve to be more creative. It turns out that being creative is one of the best ways to stave off dementia and cogntive decline--and who wants that? See the picture I took with my Iphone? (Okay, so I'm not Ansel Adams, but it isn't half bad.) Photography can be very creative, and almost all of us have reasonably good phone cameras with us at all times. Start journaling, also very creative, and there are free apps on your phone that can help. You don't need to spend a lot of money or make huge changes in your life (that aren't going to last.) Start sketching using the pencil and paper inside the drawer in your kitchen instead.
2) Resolve to be more active. Humans are meant to be in motion, not glued to the cough waching cable TV. But that doesn't mean you have to buy a membership to a fitness club or an expensive e-bike or a set of cross country skis (although all of those things are great--if you use them.) But why not start out by lacing the sneakers you already own and going for a walk. Walking is free, available 24/7 all the year round, and doesn't generally lead to a lot of injuries. If you can't walk, try doing Yoga, which can be modified so that even people with significant physical disabilities can do it. There are excellent instructional videos on You Tube to get you going.
3) Resolve to be watch less TV and spend fewer hours on screens. The data demonstrating the negative effects of screen time continues to add up. And although I am well aware how many great shows there are on Netflix, I am also well aware how much damage sitting around and binge watching Yellowstone is doing to our bodies and minds. (That said, Kevin Costner is truly fantastic and you have to see it.) Limit your screen time, because too much kills your imagination, increases your risk of dementia and thickens your middle. So, yes, watch Yellowstone for heaven's sake, but watch three episodes per week and do something creative with the time you saved.
4) Resolve to be more accepting. Practicing acceptance has more benefits than I have space here to list but I want to highlight a few. People who accept things are happier. Period. Nuff said. Who doesn't want to be happier? Practicing acceptance is also a great way to have healthier relationships, and we could all use that. Perhaps most important, acceptance leads to better emotional and physical health (such as improved blood pressure.) And it doesn't cost anything or require any special equipment, it just requires a change of mind and heart.
5) Resolve to be a more other centered person. Excessive individualism is not only the most dangerous ism on the plant, worsening climate change and threatening geopolitical stability among many other things, it is also bad for the individual, increasing rates of anxiety and depression. When we don't see ourselves as part of a greater group or collective, we feel isolated and anxious. The solution is to see ourselves as intergal parts of a multitude of various communities and act accordingly. Be a big brother or sister, a literacy volunteer, take your elderly neighbor to the grocery store, plant a tree. I promise both you and the world will be better for it.
Well, the soapbox I am standing on is teetering so I need to end here, but let me point out that all five of these resolutions require nothing more than your determination and a little time. No money. No equipment. No memberships. Just determination and time. Best of luck.
ps. One of my resolutions (suggested by my new editor) is to blog more, so please click on the link to suscribe to the blog so that I am not doing it in vane. And make sure to check out and suscribe to my website; exciting book news is coming out soon.
Cheers, PeterAuthor Website, as well as his personal blog, Peter Hogenkamp Writes, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the creator, producer and host of Your Health Matters, a health information program, which airs on cable television, streams on YouTube and sounds off on podcast. Peter was a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Killer Nashville Claymore Award as well as the 2020 Vermont Writer’s Prize. He tweets—against the wishes of his wife, four children and feisty Cairn Terrier, Hermione—on Twitter. He can be reached at his FaceBook Page and at email@example.com.