Stand fast, be resolute

Published 11:47 am Friday, January 8, 2016

Now that they’ve put most of a weekend between their New Year’s resolutions and reality, a significant number of Americans already have given up and turned back to whatever bad habits they vowed on Dec. 31 to divest.

Even as local gymnasiums and fitness centers deal with the annual influx of people “resolved” to lose weight and get fit, the resoluteness of those members will be a point of suspicion and doubt, as longtime gym denizens recognize the ebb and flow of new customers that is inevitably connected to the turning of a new year on the calendar.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Though it doesn’t reveal the source of its conclusions, the ACS further states that “almost half” of those making resolutions keep them for at least six months. From the glass-is-half-empty perspective, that means more than half of New Year’s resolvers are somewhat less than resolute.

Recognizing that most of us could use a little extra resolve, the cancer society offers some suggestions about how to keep three of the most popular resolutions. Coincidentally (or not), all three resolutions are directed at healthy living — and each of the three lifestyle changes can help stave off cancer for those who are steadfast about them.

First, exercise more:

• Be specific (and reasonable) about your goals.

• Look for opportunities to add exercise to your normal routine — taking the stairs when possible, parking farther from your destination and riding a stationary bike while watching television.

Second, eat better:

• Start by eating less. Oversized portions are smaller than you might think. The amount of meat in a healthy meal, for example, is about 3 ounces — the size of a deck of cards.

• Continue to improve by eating healthier — adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet and skipping the sugars and fats when possible.

Finally, quit smoking:

• The American Cancer Society says, “Quitting smoking is the most important action you can take to reduce your cancer risk.” But it’s not easy, and the organization has lots of resources designed to help you quit. Visit for ideas that will increase the chance of success.

• Predictably in 2016, there’s also an app for that. The “Quit For Life” program, provided by the American Cancer Society and Alere Wellbeing, offers a free smartphone app for iPhone and Android that offers daily tips and motivation, a cost-savings calculator, and a calendar to track your success. The National Cancer Institute also has a quit-smoking app.

Perhaps you’re among the 40 percent or so of Americans who made New Year’s Resolutions this year. If you did, and yours are health-related, take advantage of this advice to make sure you’re among the “nearly half” who stand fast and resolute.