Better start thinking of how you'll be sticking to your New Year resolutions as 2013 approaches. While broken New Year promises are nothing new and countless resolutions from years past seem to have gone unresolved, just remember one thing: you're not alone. However, the good news is you can always do something different, and there's always a chance you'll keep all of them this year, especially if you arm yourself with a game plan.
The best resolutions to set for yourself are goals that lead to a healthier and therefore better you. So, before you plan on making the next promotion, getting that pay raise, calling your mother at least once a week or clearing out your closet, start by making small, realistic, manageable steps to a healthier and stronger you in 2013:
- Set Up a Sleep Schedule: Sleep is essential to good health. Adequate sleep is not only important to your health, it is essential for productivity, wellness, quality of life and safety in traffic and at work. Start by deciding when you'll have to wake up and when you'll have to be in bed. Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep and plan on relaxing about an hour before bedtime.
- Pick A Few Healthy Recipes to Stick With: There are millions of recipes out there. The last thing you'll want to do when you come home after a long day is to search for a recipe and cook up a meal. Ordering take-out is tempting, but often times unhealthy. To make things easier, start by choosing three health recipes that are fast and easy to make. An easy recipe should have no more than 6 ingredients and the ingredients should be accessible and not something exotic spice like truffle salt.
- Make an Eating Out Game Plan: Having lunch and dinner with friends and co-workers is great. It's social, it's fun and everyone has a good time. However, it doesn't mean you can't be healthy about it. Start by deciding ahead of time what you'll eat. Salads are an excellent choice for your health. Dressing, not so much. Try to get salad dressing on the side, and choose a basic vinaigrette dressing like balsamic vinegar with olive oil or red wine vinaigrette instead of creamy dressings like Ranch or Thousand Island.
- Take It Easy on the Alcohol: A little bit of alcohol now and then is fine. But it's important to always remember to drink responsibly for the sake of your health. It's also very important to remember that alcohol contains a lot of calories. A recent CDC study found that alcohol accounts for about 16 percent of the total calories consumed by an American adult. A 12-ounce beer alone is about 150 calories and a 5-ounce glass of wine is about 120 calories.
- Make Going to the Gym Easy: Before you go to bed, try laying out your workout clothes for the next morning. That way you can wake up and go without making decisions on what to wear and what not to forget to bring to the gym.
- Plan to Be SPF Protected: Despite falling cancer rates, cancers associated with lifestyles like melanoma are on the rise. This year CDC released a report showing that despite years of warning about cancer risks associated with outdoor UV rays and indoor tanning, the same number of young adults get sunburned, which significantly raises the risk of skin cancer, as did a decade ago. While at least 66 percent of white Americans between the ages of 19 and 29 were sunburned as least once in 2010, only about 37 percent of young women and 16 percent of young men regularly use sunscreen. If you're one of those forgetful sunscreen users, try putting a bottle of sunscreen next to the place you put your toothpaste, deodorant or things you never forget to use every day. You can also try carrying a bottle of sunscreen with you at all times, either in a purse, briefcase or pocket.