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Top 5 Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions and How To Stick To Them

Ok, so we’re two weeks into the New Year. Resolution time!  Does this sound familiar? You went to sleep last night gung ho about getting to the gym before starting your work day and were relatively confident you would be ready to leap out of bed when your alarm clock went off. But within seconds of that annoying buzz sounding, your hand came down HARD on the snooze button.

How are your New Year’s resolutions progressing? Being that improving health is at the heart of our business, we have addressed the top 5 health-related New Year’s resolutions for 2015 in this post. We also offer some advice for the follow-through on your good intentions.

1. Lose Weight

This is probably one of the most common New Year’s resolutions and it’s an important one in our line of work. Workers who are overweight are more susceptible to other health problems and are at a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that causes fatigue and poses a safety risk for workers in safety sensitive positions.

Unfortunately there is no quick fix for losing weight. It takes time and dedication. Start small – aim to cut out 250 to 500 calories a day and 1-2 pounds per week. Losing it gradually means less of that miserable feeling of starvation, which in turn means you are less likely to regain that weight later on. Also, for many people, what they drink is a big source of calories. Sometimes, simply cutting out beverages that are bad for you is enough to shed some weight. Cut out drinks with any sugar or carbohydrates, including energy drinks, sugar sweetened coffee, sugared soda, and juice. That leaves – water and other non-sugared fluids! Make sure you drink the equivalent of 8 glasses of water a day.  Cut back on excessive fats.  Substitute fruits and vegetables for cookies and cakes, and low calorie/low fat yogurt for ice cream.  Be creative with flavours and spices….you just might surprise yourself to see how magnificent fresh products taste!!

2. Stop Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you could do to improve your health and quality of life. By doing so, you lower your chances of getting smoking-related diseases like lung cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. You will also have more energy, you will heal faster and have fewer complications after surgery, and your smoking won’t affect the health of people around you!

If this is your resolution, make sure you let your loved ones know that you’re quitting so they can support you. List the reasons to quit smoking, as this will be something you can refer to when you are tempted to light a cigarette.  Also, identify and, where possible, eliminate triggers that make you want to smoke so you can avoid them, especially when you first start trying to quit.

3. Get Fit

Getting fit can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and falls. It can also help improve your concentration at work, give you more energy, and by stimulating various brain chemicals, it can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

As a general goal, consider aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, whether it’s walking, cycling, or any other activity that gets you moving. If that doesn’t sound like enough for you, here’s a tip – have a better goal than simply “get fit.” Being more specific makes your goal more attainable. Do you want to be able to bench lift 200 pounds? Do you want to be able to run 5km in less than 30 minutes? Once you decide what your goal is, start with small strides. Lift 10 pounds. Run 500m. And give yourself some credit for what you accomplish rather than giving yourself a hard time for what you haven’t achieved. So what if you ran two days less than you strived for – you still ran three days this week!

And “yes,” as you get older, you may indeed have to modify your program to match your physical capabilities…..but guess what!  Even seemingly milder forms of activities combined with daily flexibility exercises can be beneficial to people of all ages!!.

4. Sleep Better

Tired of feeling tired all the time? A lot of people don’t get enough sleep and have decided that 2015 will be the year of the z’s. Going to work well-rested is especially important for safety-sensitive positions and getting better sleep will also help you attain other health-related goals because quality rest is associated with healthier body weight, greater motivation and smarter food choices.

The first step is to create a plan. This starts with a goal, which could be to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Outline the steps you plan to take to achieve this. Like other resolutions, start small – adapting to gradual changes. For instance, plan to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each week rather than trying to add two hours of sleep on at once. Also, make sure your bedroom is sleep proof – avoid disrupting light by limiting electronics and using blackout shades or an eye mask. If you live in noisy surroundings, limit noise disruptions with earplugs, and keep your room temperature cool with breathable bedding.  Avoid excessive fluids before going to sleep (to help avoid all those trips to you know where all night long), and avoid prolonged computer use prior to bed (certain emissions given off by computer screens may actually prevent you from falling asleep).

5. Enjoy Life (physically and mentally)

Instead of making a resolution to change, perhaps this year is a good one for you to resolve to appreciate the great things in life. Change your perspective, think positively, and live in the present!  A healthy body is a step towards a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is a step towards a healthy body!!

A Final Note:  We’re very excited for anyone who wants to make positive changes….but before you do, please make certain it is medically safe for you to take on the challenge.  See your doctor for periodic check-ups and advice (you take your car in for tune-ups, don’t you), get suggestions from qualified sources (do your research well), and do it all for your families, your friends, and most importantly—for Yourself!!

Do you have a health-related New Year’s resolution? How tough is it to stick to it? Share your comments here or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We want to hear from you!