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New Year’s Resolutions for Good Health and Happiness

By: Dr. Frank MacMillan – Jan. 2016

Years end is a good opportunity for us to look back and take stock in what is good and what is not so good. Yes, the turning of the calendar year is an artificial boundary, but why not use this as an opportunity to leave the old behind and make a renewed effort to do something better. Let me make some suggestions:

First, the tobacco companies want you to think that the issue is the government nanny state infringing on your freedom. This is a clever appeal, but it’s really not true. The government makes a lot of money on smokers and would be happy to have more. Do yourself a big favor. Change your brand of smokes so you don’t enjoy it so much and pick a quit date. Declare your own independence day. I guarantee that no one I ever got to finally quit has ever regretted it. If you care about your health, it is the most important and quickest pay back you can get for your investment.

Let’s face it; America invented the supersize, not our proudest achievement. Take this opportunity to plan on how you are going to lose some extra weight this year. Most of us don’t become fat overnight. A few pounds here, a few pounds there, they do add up over time. If you resolve just to not gain any weight this year, you are adding years to your life. It’s even better if you can limit portions, limit junk food, and sugary soda. It may taste good now, but you know you won’t feel better after consuming it. So, simply measure your portions, get some extra activity and start maximizing your time above ground for your own happiness and contentment.

Get some good sleep. Most of us don’t prioritize our own needs and neglect our own health. Poor sleep from obesity, alcohol, drugs, and late night distractions affect our mood and our ability to enjoy life. Make time to get good quality sleep and you will be astonished at how well you enjoy your waking hours. Benjamin Franklin was right on this one.

Move on from negative people in your lives. I meet so many people, so many times a day that have poor interpersonal relationships. They are invariably stressed out and unhappy. If someone in your life is not adding, but rather sucking the life from you, it is time for new friends. Just be sure that you are not part of the problem. Nobody wants or needs an overly needy friend. Debbie Downer and Eeyore will bring you down. Don’t be a downer. Separate yourself from negative people.

Resolve to do something for you this year. If you find yourself always doing for others, but at the expense of your own advancement or happiness, it’s time for a makeover. Yes, we get satisfaction from serving others. But, even if you are a saint or a mother, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before your do it for someone else. Anyone who has ever flown on an airplane knows this. Make a plan to change something in a positive way in your life and work toward achieving it. I’m not saying to abandon your responsibilities, but understand that when you do well for yourself, those around you also benefit! Wait, I am sounding like Joel Osteen, but you get the idea.

Lastly, don’t worry about things you don’t have control over. Do what you can to make things better, but also understand that it will be someone else’s battle if you are not there. Work on making your experiences and relationships in life to be what defines you and not the stuff you accumulate. Resolve to be happy, share it with your families and good friends, and have a wonderful and exciting New Year!

Frank MacMillan

Frank MacMillan

Dr. Frank MacMillan, Jr, MD, FACG specializes in Gastroenterology and Liver diseases, is a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and it’s Massachusetts Governor. He is Vice President of the Massachusetts Gastroenterology Association. Dr MacMillan is a native of North Andover and practices Gastroenterology in Haverhill at Merrimack Valley Hospital, where he currently serves as the Chief of Medicine. He has also been a member of the North Andover Board of Health since 2007. You can email Dr. Frank at fpmacmillan@comcast.net

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