By Emily Gao, M.D.
It’s the start of a new year when most of us make resolutions to improve the quality of our lives.
However, as you know, annual resolutions often fail. That’s usually because intended changes are too big, vague, or complicated. For a better chance at long-term success, turn your resolutions into achievable commitments you’re likely to stay with for the long haul.
Here are 10 easy-to-start 2024 commitments toward better health:
1.Start exercising. You don’t have to join a gym. Brisk walking for 30 minutes most days of the week can help lower blood pressure, control weight gain, and lift your spirits.
2. Add more fiber to your diet. A high-fiber diet helps lower your risk for certain gastrointestinal disorders. Studies suggest that eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day may avert an initial occurrence of colorectal cancer. Fiber is found in most whole grains, fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables – and don’t forget old-fashioned oatmeal.
3.Make water your go-to drink. Drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses each day helps manage hunger cravings, keeps you hydrated, and does wonders for your skin.
4.Get adequate sleep. You don’t have to be Rip Van Winkle. Healthy adults usually need about seven hours a night. (Added benefits: It boosts alertness and reduces your risk of causing a car accident.)
5.Reduce sugar and salt intake. Sugar produces empty calories and can generate energy “highs” and “lows” throughout your day. Sodium contributes to hypertension.
6.Apply a mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on exposed skin every day, including cloudy days.
7.Quit using nicotine in any of its insidious forms.
8.Choose a primary care physician. Maintaining a good doctor-patient relationship incentivizes you to have regular checkups.
9.Stay current on immunizations. Get your seasonal flu and COVID vaccines to help protect you and your family.
10.Reach out and wish those dear to you a happy new year. Sending and receiving uplifting messages does us all some good – physically and mentally.
About the author:
Dr. Gao is a board-certified Family Medicine physician providing compassionate care to patients with chronic and acute conditions including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma, allergies, and thyroid disease. She cares for her patients – and welcomes new ones – at Kelsey-Seybold’s Springwoods Village Campus.
For appointments: Call the 24/7 Contact Center at 713-442-0000,
or schedule online at:
Published January 8, 2024
Author Emily Gao, M.D.