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Examiner
  • Lori Boyajian-O'Neill: Resolve not to deprive yourself this year

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  • New Year's resolutions range from small aspirations to grand plans. Most will be forgotten within 1-2 months. Poof. Gone. So much for that resolution. Do we fail at New Year's resolutions because we lack will power or something else?
    New Year's resolutions, what do you know, T or F?
    1. Losing weight is most common.
    2. 45 percent make resolutions.
    3. 15 percent achieve their resolutions.
    Most resolutions involve depriving ourselves. “I will stop eating this.” “I will not do that.” Sound like fun? No wonder we fail. Only about 8 percent of those who make resolutions actually succeed. What if we did not eliminate anything? Might our success be improved if we actually added something to our lives? Some psychologists think that adding something to our lives might improve our chances for achieving our resolutions.
    Let's turn the tables on ourselves. Let's play a little reverse psychology on ourselves. Instead of a list of “what not to do,” let's make a list of what we will add to our lives. Think of it not as depriving ourselves but rewarding ourselves. “I resolve to reward myself because I'm worth it!” Consider the following daily resolutions:
    1. Alone time for 5 minutes
    2. Drinking 1 glass carbonated water
    3. Sleeping 15 minutes more
    4. Walking 5 minutes
    5. Eating almonds and dark chocolate
    Taking time out for peace and quiet in the middle of the day can decrease heart rate, blood pressure and stress. Five minutes? We all can carve out that time. Midday prayer, meditation, writing in a gratitude journal or reading from an inspirational book, at home work or school can help refocus and rejuvenate. Just find a place and make it your place and your routine.
    The scientific jury is in. Diet drinks have been found guilty of being detrimental to health. Rather than resolving to stop drinking our favorite (Diet Coke is the most popular) what if we decide to add carbonated water to our daily menu? We will get the fizz and keep our hands and our mouths occupied. Naturally, and painlessly, we will drink less diet soda. Consider adding a twist of lemon or lime.
    We are a nation that undervalues sleep and overvalues sleeping pills and caffeine. Nothing replaces a good night's sleep. Good restorative sleep, about eight hours for most of us humans, improves mood, focus, concentration and even helps us lose weight. Do not delude yourself into thinking you need less sleep than other mortals. Consider adding 15 minutes of sleep nightly and increase by 15 minutes every week until you get to a total of eight hours. You will feel like a new person.
    Walking can provide refuge from the chaos of the day and solace for the mind. Putting some physical distance between yourself and the tasks at hand can help provide perspective and peace. Start by walking 5-10 minutes daily and resolve to notice something you had not noticed previously. In other words, “be in the walk.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Add a snack of almonds every afternoon and throw in some dark chocolate. You will feel rewarded and you might find you eat less at dinner. Almonds have protein and good oils. Dark chocolate has anti-oxidants. A terrific snack.
    We are all human and the best laid plans of mice and men can go awry. If you try and fail, try again. That may be the best New Year's resolution of all.
    Answers: 1. T; 2. T; 3. F.
    Dr. Lori Boyajian-O'Neill can be contacted at lori.boyajian-oneill@hcahealthcare.com.

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