It is the New Year and once again it’s time to consider a resolution to clean up your act. The choice of which new leaf to turn over can be unique, but often it is shared with many other people.  New Year resolutions ideas often revolve around kicking bad habits like smoking, drinking, and overeating, or adopting new, healthier ones, like exercise. Medical calculators can help identify barriers to achievement, provide guidance to prevent relapse, and offer direction to older adults on how to safely begin an exercise program.

(1) Stop smoking

Many people who smoke want to quit several times a year. This is no easy task, but the chances of success can be increased with social support, nicotine replacement and medications. And drinking less. Few things can match the benefits of no longer smoking.

(2) Drinking less

There is nothing like a bad hangover to make someone consider becoming a teetotaler. Drinking is associated with other issues such as smoking, overeating and injuries. Not to mention the impact it has on relationships and work performance. Although there is controversy over light or moderate drinking, excessive drinking can significantly shorten your life.

(3) Eating less (or better) and losing weight

Obesity is a common problem around the world. Summer is coming and no one wants to look bad in a bathing suit. Losing weight can be difficult for someone working full-time, traveling or having a hectic family life. When you are stressed, food often brings a moment’s comfort that can be hard to resist.

(4) Exercising

Many adults have a sedentary lifestyle which contributes to being overweight. This is the time of year to buy that exercise equipment destined to be a future shirt stand or dirt magnet. For an older adult who has become deconditioned, it is wise to check with a physician before embarking on a vigorous exercise program.

(5) Achieving other goals

The number of new year resolutions ideas is very large:  Maybe I should spend more quality time with my family and friends?  I should work less and play more? Maybe I should try to live within a budget or save for retirement? Maybe I should give up gambling? For some of us there are just too many vices to choose from.

Resolving the Fundamental Issues

Most people who make resolutions eventually go back to the behavior that they promised to avoid. Sometimes it is when the first crisis hits. Sometimes it happens when going out with friends. But often the behavior to be changed is not the real issue that needs to be dealt with.

A vice often is a coping behavior developed in reaction to something stressful or a negative emotion that is being avoided. Changing something that is being suppressed is hard since you are not aware of it. On the other hand avoidance with self-medication is easy and may seem safer than dealing with anger or depression. Unless the underlying issues are addressed, the chances for change are low. Even if the target behavior is stopped, there can be rotation to another potentially addictive behavior.

So if you really want to change, then find out what is really bothering you. For the rest of us, there is always next year.