This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Welcome to 2016, Carson City! We’re now nearly two weeks into the new year, and it’s time to check in: How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Maybe some readers have stuck with their plans and are now two weeks closer to a new, improved habit. To them, we say “Keep up the good work!” Others may have already forgotten about their resolutions or given up after early setbacks. We encourage those who may have experienced frustrations to give those goals another look. Finally, some people may have skipped making a resolution, but it’s not too late to decide to make a positive, healthy change. We have included some tips to help you adopt some healthy behaviors, whether they are New Year’s resolutions or not.
Conventional wisdom says it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Some people may be able to adopt new behaviors more quickly, while others may take longer to change their routine. Even though it may not seem like it when your alarm goes off at 5 a.m., it’s easier to form a new habit than break an old one. If you’re constantly hitting the snooze button, rolling over, and going back to sleep instead of heading to the gym, fight the urge to stay in bed by making it a positive experience to get up. Invite a friend to join you while you work out to add accountability. It can also help to have things ready to go — get breakfast ready and lay out your clothes the night before so you have no excuses.
If you’re trying to eliminate a negative behavior, like smoking, it’s important to figure out your cue. Rather than trying to quit cold turkey, try to figure out what’s triggering the need for a cigarette. Do certain situations ignite the urge to light up? If you can identify the things that make you want to smoke, you can improve your chances for quitting by avoiding those triggers. Cigarettes are addictive in their own right, but for many people, identifying and avoiding trigger situations can help their quit attempt to be more successful.
Some New Year’s resolutions aren’t habits, per se, just things that need to be done. If you’ve been putting off some important items on your to-do list, like making an emergency kit, now’s the time to get to work. Set aside some time to gather your supplies, discuss with your family what you’d do in the case of an emergency, and learn about resources that may be available in your community if disaster strikes. Visit Ready.gov to learn about what to include in your kit.
It’s not too late to exercise more, eat healthier, or lose weight. There’s still time to resolve to quit using tobacco or other drugs, or make a preparedness kit for any emergencies that may happen. Make 2016 the year you keep your resolution. Pick a goal, and then stick to it. Today is a great day to start.
For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us on Facebook at Carson City Health and Human Services.