It’s the start of a brand-new year, and a great opportunity to set goals to achieve better health for you and your family members.
Here are four steps that can help make 2014 your healthiest year yet:
1. Schedule annual physicals.
Did you know that some health problems, such as high blood pressure, can have few or no symptoms? These conditions may only be detected by a test performed by your doctor. This is just one reason that getting an annual physical is a great way for you to regularly monitor your health. These appointments also can help you build a relationship with your primary care doctor. Here are a few things to expect at your annual physical:
Be sure to schedule annual exams for you and each member of your family.
2. Discuss preventative health screenings with your doctor.
Many factors impact what preventative health screenings you need. These tests are important because results can help you and your doctor determine opportunities to make medication or lifestyle changes to improve your health. Also, screenings can find problems early when they are most treatable.
3. Ask for help. Whether you are trying to manage a chronic medical condition or achieve new health goals like eating better and moving more ... you don't have to go it alone. There are many resources to help you every step of the way. For example, talk to your doctor about referring you to a dietitian or a wellness coach to help you chart your plan and track success. Or, ask a friend or co-worker to join you in a new fitness activity or program you want to kick-start. And don't forget, technology can be a great support system as well. Tools like a pedometer or online support sites likes SparkPeople® can give you the support you need.
4. Make healthy choices everyday.
You are more likely to reach your health goals when you focus on tracking small, measurable victories.
Celebrate small successes. What matters is the direction that you’re going, not always the speed or even the process. It’s about choosing water or the smaller diet drink instead of the super-sized, high-calorie drink. Identify the little changes, celebrate them and keep building healthier habits.
Track meaningful progress. Instead of monitoring your progress by the scale, ask yourself questions like:
Identify the little changes, celebrate them and keep building healthier habits. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2014!