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The List: Top New Year's resolutions
Watching less television and exercising are two popular New Year's resolutions.
The Washington Times
Friday, December 31, 2010
The new year is a time to reflect; to make new commitments and resolutions. This week, The List looks at some of the popular resolutions people make at the beginning of each year.
- Stop smoking -- It's hard to give up the popular weed first introduced to Europeans by Native Americans. U.S. smoking rates have stalled in the last five years, according to federal health officials. The rate was 20.6 percent of U.S. adults in 2009 compared with 20.9 percent in 2005. Each year in the U.S., tobacco use causes about 443,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For help, check out the National Cancer Institute's website smokefree.gov.
- Drink less -- Alcohol is certainly part of our culture and helps many celebrate holidays, notes the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "But drinking too much -- on a single occasion or over time -- can have serious consequences for our health," the website states. Too much alcoholic can affect the liver and also damage the brain.
- Get more exercise -- Get off the couch and get those muscles working; your body is beautiful. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), adults should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week by doing activities like brisk walking, ballroom dancing or gardening. If you choose, you can do 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as jogging, aerobic dancing or tennis, etc.
- Go on a diet -- Currently, more than 64 million Americans are obese. Obesity is ranked as the second-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., exceeded only by smoking according to the Food and Drug Administration._ To lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you use. Start eating healthy foods and do regular physical activity.
- Find a soul mate -- The number of single adults in the United States has reached 110 million, according to the "It's Just Lunch" website, a national dating service. Eharmony.com, another dating service, says it has 20 million registered online users and accounts for 542 marriages a year.
- Spend more time with family and friends -- Americans are happiest on days when they spend six or seven hours socializing, according to the Gallup-Healthways Happiness-Stress Index._ Individuals who reported being alone all day (zero hours of social time) performed the poorest on the Index.
- Get more organized -- There are two types of clutter: mental and physical. Take control of your life and start cleaning up your surroundings. It starts with your thinking. Set clear goals, and then start cleaning up, room by room.
- Find a job -- With the unemployment rate nearing 10 percent, many Americans will be looking for a job in 2011. It's important to take a closer look at industry data to find out where jobs are, such as sites like CareerBuilder.com. It's always a good idea to freshen up your skills.
- Travel more -- American is a big country, but there's also a world out there, too. Plan a trip overseas, or take a cruise.
- Help others/charity work, etc. -- Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Want to have a meaningful, positive impact on your community? Become a volunteer. Volunteers often feel a sense of achievement, generated from a desire and enthusiasm to help. Volunteering also helps on your resume. A study by Timebank, a British volunteer organization, _ showed that employers will recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without.
- Relocate -- Sometimes a move is good, but it's wise to find a job at a new location first.
- Manage stress better -- Preventing and managing stress can help lower your risk of serious health problems, _such as high blood pressure and depression.
- Get out of debt -- Cut up all your credit cards until you are down to just one. Start keeping a record of your spending and make a budget. Figure out how much you owe, to whom and on what terms, and start paying it off.
- Text less -- Texting and cell phone use is becoming an addiction for many young people. According to a study done by Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland of 4,257 secondary school students, almost one in five teens sent more than 120 texts a day.
- Watch less TV -- According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than four hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or two months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent nine years glued to the tube. Pick up a book.
Compiled by John Haydon