February 2. Your New Year’s resolution is officially 33 days old. How are you doing? Did you decide to
- Eat healthier?
- Stop smoking?
- Get more exercise?
- Party less?
- Finally address your moodiness and depression?
One challenge of a New Year’s resolution is that it is so permanent. If you stop smoking on January 1, only to catch yourself with a cigarette on the 3rd, all is lost. So, how can you make this more productive and less discouraging?
Well, if the universe can be committed to fair or foul weather for a few weeks by the emergence of a groundhog from its hole, what say you? Can you set a short term goal for the next 6 weeks?
Healthy eating – Can you add another fruit and vegetable to your daily diet each of the next 6 weeks? Remember, while fresh fruits and veggies have a lot of health benefits, you can also get some of these servings from microwave soups, packaged fruit bars, etc., that may be a bit easier to carry around campus.
Smokers – how about setting March 15 as your planned stop date? Between now and then, look at your smoking habits, try to wean yourself down on the number of cigarettes used every day, and consider a visit to Student Wellness or the Health Center to talk to a professional about the health benefits.
Exercise – Are you a couch potato? Try starting with a twenty-minute walk tonight. Over the next 6 weeks, see if you can progress to 30 minutes of activity that gets your heart beating a little faster, and do it at least 5 days of the week.
Alcohol – We all know that alcohol should be used legally and in moderation. If you occasionally cross the line, try this trick – when you go out, see if you can limit yourself to no more than one alcoholic drink each hour. If you meet your goal, then slip a five-dollar bill into your piggy bank when you get home. At the end of six weeks, see how many “Abes” you have accumulated.
Depression – The National College Health Assessment reports that more than one in four college students is suffering from depression, but only of third of them have consulted a healthcare professional. Did you know that in six weeks of treatment, either with medicines, counseling, or both, you can see significant improvements?
6 weeks. Enough time to get out there and let the sun shine on your new healthier lifestyle? Or maybe you want to just stay in your dark, wet, wormy hole in the ground? It’s your decision. Will you risk seeing your shadow?
Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)