The Power of Resolutions
Filed under | Op-Ed
According to this chart, the most common new year’s resolutions include quitting smoking and drinking, getting fit, and spending more time with family and friends, enjoying life. Guess what? Those are all vital elements in your cancer-fighting toolkit!
According to the National Cancer Institute, smokers who quit at about age 30 reduce their chance of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases (including lung cancer) by more than 90 percent, while those who quit at about age 50 reduce their risk of dying prematurely by 50 percent. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society warns that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, colon, rectum, breast, and, not surprisingly, liver. And while research conducted by a team at at the Ben-Gurion University of Negev, in Beer Sheva, Israel suggesting a correlation between happiness and cancer prevention is still in its nascent stages, we at SU2C can say that that, looking back on 2012, the time we spent with our family and friends far overshadows any electronics purchase or professional achievement we may have had.
So how can you make sure to stick to your resolutions? The first step, according to the New York Times, is simply to make them. Science writer John Tierney informs us that if you consciously resolve to make a change, “you’re much more likely to make improvements than someone who hasn’t made a formal resolution.”
After you’ve made your resolution, do your best to make it through the end of the month. According to the same Times article, if you can stick to your resolutions through January, it gets much easier to keep them for the rest of the year.
That said, don’t try to sustain yourself on willpower alone: use the resources available to you. Get help quitting smoking. Use your support system to cut back on drinking – say by taking a pledge with a spouse or friend to limit yourself to the American Cancer Society’s recommended intake of no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
And finally, don’t abandon your resolutions if you slip up – you’ll just be giving yourself an excuse for not seeing them through. Keep going, and reward yourself along the way for the great job you’re doing. Treat yourself to a new item of clothing or CD for every week you refrain from a cigarette. Or better yet, do something special to celebrate with a loved one. That way you’ll be tackling two resolutions at once – and isn’t health and happiness what the new year is all about?