Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions
Article date: December 30, 2013
By Stacy Simon
The New Year is a natural time to try for a new start and do things better. Some of the most common – to lose weight, exercise more, and quit smoking – are healthy habits that can help you lower your cancer risk and benefit you for the rest of your life. More than 40% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions, and almost half of them keep their resolutions for at least 6 months. Here are some tips and tools for making those resolutions and sticking to them.
- Be specific about your exercise goal. For example, instead of resolving to just get more, make a plan to walk 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Think you don’t have time to add any physical activity to your day? Try simple substitutions, such as using stairs rather than an elevator, walking to visit co-workers instead of sending an email, and using a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV. Studies show that getting even just 15 more minutes of exercise a day can help you live longer.
- Use the USDA’s free SuperTracker tools to help you set goals for managing your weight and getting enough physical activity.
- Eat a little less by avoiding oversized portions. For example, the amount of meat recommended as part of a healthy meal is about 3 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards.
- Eat a little healthier by adding more vegetables, fruits, and fiber to your meals and leaving out some of the sugar, fat, and calories.
- Use the USDA’s free SuperTracker tools to help you set goals for managing your weight and eating right.
- Ask the American Cancer Society to help you quit smoking. Research shows that getting help increases your chances of success. Visit cancer.org/quitsmoking or call us at 1-800-227-2345 and we’ll help you get started.
- Get an app for that. The Quit For Life® program, provided by the American Cancer Society and Alere Wellbeing, offers a free smartphone app for iPhone and Android that offers daily tips and motivation, a cost-savings calculator, and a calendar to track your success. The National Cancer Institute also has a quit-smoking app.
Quitting smoking is the most important action you can take to reduce your cancer risk. Half of all smokers who keep smoking will end up eventually dying from a smoking-related illness. Additional important ways to lower your risk include getting to and maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The evidence for this is strong: Each year, more than 572,000 Americans die of cancer; about one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.
Learn more about adopting and keeping healthy habits at cancer.org/healthy.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
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