How many of us can look back at 2013 and say we feel as though we starred in the spaghetti Western "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly?" Although I am no Clint East-wood, I for one, can. As we take down our Christ-mas stockings, many of us find ourselves taking stock of ourselves and seeking improvement (or redemption) with our New Year's resolutions. Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Here's a look at my seven resolutions.
1. To not have to see these resolutions on my list next year. Did you know only 8 percent of people actually achieve their resolutions? To im-prove my chances, I will draw a clear map to help me reach my destination without getting lost. In other words, I will create an easy-to-follow plan and hold myself accountable, quarterly.
2. Love myself. I've heard many variations of this sentiment, but if we are not good at loving ourselves, we will have a difficult time loving anyone. We will resent the time and energy we give another person that we aren't even giving to ourselves. In other words, set the tone and the standard.
3. Put things in perspective. "If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75 percent of the world." Still not convinced? How about "If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week." Signed, sealed and delivered: "If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering."
4. Drink less caffeine. I know I am not alone when it comes to starting the day with, and then going back to, the coffee maker. For 2014, I will aim to be one and done. And I will achieve via my No. 5 resolution.
5. Get some "ZZZ's." Not having a good night's sleep can make even the best morph into the Incredible Hulk. There is also a Catch-22 with sleep and caffeine consumption; we drink caffeine to keep us alert, but then it keeps us awake at night. In 2014, my goal is to stay Dr. David Banner by removing the sleep wreckers that surround me. Bye bye Lou Ferrigno.
6. Tech cleanse. I am a tech-a-holic. My day begins with an eye-opener of checking my email, which wouldn't be so bad if I didn't check my emails and texts right before going to bed, and throughout the day. I have almost been hit by a car (on more than one occasion) because I was texting while walking across the street. In 2014, I will find ways to unplug.
7. Protect the skin I'm in. This past year, I had moles that needed to be biopsied. Fortunately for me they were negative. But did you know skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States with one in five people developing it over their lifetime. More shockingly, one American dies from skin cancer every hour! To that extent, I vow to cover up, spread on sunscreen, not let the weather fool me (ultraviolet lights are present even during the winter months) and get annual skin exams.
It has been said, aging is a gift not everyone gets. Hopefully, we can dub today, "The Good," and continue to shed the bad and the ugly. Our chances will improve greatly if we make an active, deliberate effort, along with looking at things through rose-colored glasses and holding ourselves accountable. In addition to remembering to write 2014 instead of 2013 as the date, let's resolve to be awesome.
Dr Nina Radcliff, of Galloway Township, is a physician anesthesiologist, television medical contributor and textbook author. Email questions on general medical topics to her at firstname.lastname@example.org