Dr. Molina’s Guide to Guiltless New Year Resolutions

December 26, 2012 / Molina Guest

Dr. Molina’s Guide to Guiltless New Year Resolutions

Photo Credit: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/new-years-eve-invitation-inspi-132153

by J. Mario Molina, MD

President and CEO, Molina Healthcare, Inc.

  1. Break down your goals. By breaking down your goals into simple daily actions you can reduce stress, save money, organize your life, lose weight, or do more of whatever makes you happy. Create a list of short-term goals or milestones that will help you stay motivated to accomplish your ultimate long-term goals.
  2. Protect your smile. Most of us don't seem to floss as often as we should, but proper flossing is one of the most important contributing factors to a long life. Poor gum health can be linked to heart disease and diabetes. If you’re not already flossing at least once a day, start by gradually increasing the number of days you floss your teeth each week until you’re flossing every day.
  3. Double up on veggies. The benefits associated with eating more vegetables stack up quickly. They may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Try to include at least two vegetable servings in each dinner meal and consider a vegetarian or vegan meal as a way to try out new and unfamiliar vegetables.
  4. Be more social. Thanks to social media, many of us spend a lot of time interacting with family and friends through our phones and computers. Make an effort to get actual “face time” with your family and friends. Plan a weekend trip away with friends, have a family game night, or even a picnic in the park.
  5. Step it up. Go for a walk or work out at the gym for at least 20 minutes three times a week. As you build up your stamina, add an extra five or ten minutes or extra days until you are walking at least 10,000 steps a day. A pedometer that counts your steps can be helpful. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. It sounds like a lot, but you may be surprised at how quickly the steps add up.
  6. Pay it forward. Even if it’s just your time and not your money, try to give back to the community. Select an organization that you would like to get involved in and volunteer your time or resources. Whether you spend time helping out at your local homeless shelter, collecting canned goods for a food pantry or building a house, there are many non-profit organizations that could use your help. Not only does it have a positive impact on others, but it will have that effect on you too.
  7. Stay hydrated. The amount of water you drink directly impacts your body temperature, metabolism and breathing, and can also prevent heartburn, migraines, gastritis and ulcers (to name a few). If the recommended eight glasses of water each day sounds a little intimidating, start by increasing your intake by two glasses a week until you’ve reached eight glasses a day.
  8. Protect your financial health. If you’re in control of your finances, you will likely be less stressed and healthier. The key is to make a monthly budget and stick to it. Keep track of where you spend your money and identify where you can cut back.
  9. De-clutter your home. Did you know that having clutter around your house can cause stress and actual harm? Benefits of simplifying and reducing clutter in your life include more rest, better relationships, easier house management and a better daily mood. Start small with one room or closet in your house, and you will soon find the more you de-clutter, the happier you feel.
  10. Stay motivated. The key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. But how? Make your tasks fun by changing up your normal routine, recognize your progress and reward yourself when you accomplish your goals!