How to make those New Year's resolutions stick

NEW YEAR'S DAY

STAFF WRITERS

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A new year has bloomed and millions of people will be setting themselves new year’s resolutions to live healthier lives.

Many people will be making their way to the gym to lose a few kilos, others will be trying to quit smoking and many more will be aiming to eat healthier food.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Chris McMillan, said establishing a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your cancer risk.

“Last year, health and fitness topped the list for New Year’s Resolutions, and it’s great to see people are setting goals to improve their well being,” she said.

“However, long-term change can be hard, and we know that not everyone actually achieves their resolutions.”

Data by comparison website Finder showed that the top five resolutions for 2018 involved improving fitness, eating better, quitting smoking, quitting alcohol and learning a new skill. 

Ms McMillan said research showed people are more likely to reach a goal if it’s specific and attainable.

“Making too many changes too quickly or becoming discouraged after initial setbacks can cause people to throw in the towel and resume old unhealthy habits,” she said.

“Planning and setting realistic expectations are key.

“It’s important that people start with small changes and develop a great support base of friends and family to encourage them to make long-term changes for their health.

“We want to keep all Queenslanders motivated to achieve their health goals, as at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable with simple lifestyle changes, including limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, keeping active and being SunSmart.”

Cancer Council Queensland offers the following five New Year’s resolutions to inspire your good intentions:

1. Achieve a healthy weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is good for your overall wellbeing, but we know from The Health of Queenslanders Report 2018 that this is a challenge for many Queenslanders, with two in three adults overweight and obese. For adults, a quick way to check weight status is your Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist measurement. Balancing physical activity with a nutritious diet will not only help your waistline but reduce your risk of illness and chronic disease. In 2019, establish a lifelong system of staying accountable, such as keeping a food and physical activity diary.

2. Quit smoking. 
If you smoke, your body is constantly working to try and repair the damage done by regularly inhaling more than 7000 toxic chemicals. There are so many good reasons to quit and the sooner you do, the more you can reduce your cancer risk. Benefits include improvements to your health, your looks, your sense of taste and smell, your fitness and finances. And if someone you love smokes, encourage them to do the same, remembering that second-hand smoke can be just as lethal for you, your friends and family members. Call Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848) for free information, practical assistance and support to quit.  
   
3. Cut back on alcohol. Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of alcohol-related cancers and other chronic diseases. If you choose to drink alcohol, stick to the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for alcohol consumption of no more than two standard drinks per day. Keep in mind that many alcoholic drinks are kilojoule heavy, so cutting back on alcohol could also help with maintaining a healthier weight.  
 
4. Get up-to-date with your screening. Is there a screening test that you've been putting off? The New Year is the perfect time to set a date and get checked – it just might save your life. Find out about the three national screening programs for bowel cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer at the cancer screening website
 
5. Get to know yourself. When it comes to cancer, in most cases the earlier it is detected, the better. This is because finding cancer early can increase the likelihood of successful treatment. Without fretting or worrying, make it another resolution to get to know the regular look and feel of your body, keep an eye out for unusual changes, and commit to seeing a GP if you notice any changes. 

 

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