Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

smiling woman holding five pound hand weights

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.

Exercise

  • 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 better

Quit smoking

  • 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 589,000 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.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.


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