Do you make New Year's resolutions, or simply ignore the usual January brouhaha? Regardless, these three simple tips from Andrew Weil, MD, can be helpful, any time you want to up your game.
1. Be Realistic
"I'm in favor of anything that prompts positive change, but you'll have a better chance of sticking with attainable goals," says Weil. "You can always raise the bar when you've achieved your first goal." For example, if you're not physically active, aim to walk a mile each day rather than running a marathon. A study of some 8,000 men found that over 12 years, walking two miles a day reduced risk of death by nearly 50 percent.
2. Do a "News Fast"
"Avoiding news on television, in newspapers, or on the Internet for a few days, or even a week, may help renew your spirits," says Weil. Consider this:
- News coverage has increased its emphasis on crime, even as U.S. crime rates continue to decline.
- Studies show that violence, death, and other negative images can provoke and aggravate anxiety and sadness, leading to a negative view of your own life.
- Perceiving the world as violent, unsafe, and hostile can have negative effects on your body.
3. Celebrate Friends and Family
"Friends, family, loved ones, and acquaintances who make you feel more alive, happier, and more optimistic are some of the most important treasures in life," says Weil. Make it a priority to spend some time each week with at least one of them. "All the money and power you can imagine are not likely to be as satisfying as good conversation, trust, dependability, and laughter," Weil adds.