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10 resolutions for a happy, healthy new year

December 29, 2016 | Heather Shannon
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A new year is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.

Whatever your resolutions — lose a few pounds, get control of your stress or just take better care of yourself — we’re here to help you achieve your goals and live your best life. Read on for some stories that will help you do just that.

1. Eat better

Every month, we provide a nutritious, delicious recipe that’s easy to prepare. See all of our recipes ›

If you’re looking for ways to get the kids on board with healthy eating, here are some healthy school lunch tips ›

2. Start an exercise routine

Your heart is a muscle, and exercise keeps it strong.

If you think you’re too old for an exercise program — wrong! It’s never too late to start a workout routine ›

Before you start exercising, calculate your target heart rate ›

Then, read on for more tips about how to exercise, set goals and keep your motivation ›

3. Create a family genetic tree, and get genetic testing

This year, get to know your family better.

One way to do that is to create a family health tree, which helps you and your descendants have a healthier future. Start your family health tree ›

If there are serious health concerns in your family, or a family history of disease, consider getting genetic testing to understand your risk. The power of genetic testing ›

4. Quit smoking

You know it’s important to quit smoking. It’s linked to lung cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.

5. Create an advance directive

If you are even injured and unable to speak for yourself, do your loved ones know your wishes?

An advance directive allows you to clarify such things as:

  • Whether you want to be resuscitated if you become terminally ill or unconscious
  • Whether you want home hospice care instead of being cared for in the hospital

Sign up for one of our classes to learn how to fill out an advance directive ›

6. Give your brain a boost

You may be tempted to take shortcuts to a better brain: supplements, medications, games and the like.

Those things largely do not work and have been debunked by UC Irvine Health neurologist Dr. Chuang-Ko Wu.

Rest assured, however, there are several proven things you can do to improve your memory and slow cognitive decline as you age. How to improve your memory ›

7. Learn to manage stress

The areas of the brain that trigger stress responses, such as high blood pressure and a faster heart rate, are fed by stress.

This in turn leads to more stress, says UC Irvine Health cardiologist Dr. Shaista Malik.

Resolve to break the cycle this year.

Malik, who is also the director of the UC Irvine Health Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, says you can’t change the source of your stress — you can only change your response to it.

8. Curb the drinking

Are you at risk for problem drinking? Take our free alcohol screening test ›

One-third of all patients who come to the ER have some alcohol in their system.

Prevent a potentially tragic accident by assessing your drinking and taking steps to address any problems ›

9. Improve your love life

Longing for that spark in your love life?

Get some of it back with chocolate and wine, which also happen to be good for your heart ›

If you need a bit of an assist to get going, read up on erectile dysfunction treatments ›

Sometimes, unexplained fatigue, mood changes and low libido are the result of low testosterone. Talk to your doctor about testosterone therapy ›

10. Get that nagging health concern checked out

If you’re hitting certain age milestones this year, make sure you’re getting your screenings in, too:

Happy and healthy New Year!

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