Healthy tips for a New Year

by Katelin Whiddon

New Year’s Day. A time we look forward to and dread at the same time.

This time of year, the gyms are packed, restaurants are offering healthy options and people are trying to make improvements in their lives. It seems that nearly everyone has plans to make changes in the New Year. If you wish to be successful in making a New Year’s resolution, do it because you want to, not just because it is “the thing to do.”

I would bet that in America the majority of New Year’s resolutions incorporate health in some way. This is such a broad topic and can include many individual resolutions. Choosing a realistic goal for the New Year (and life in general) is imperative to it being a success. I encourage you to also think outside the box and add some other, less-common resolutions to the more common ideas for improving your 2016.

Being the best that we can be, physically and emotionally, will have an impact on the care we provide our children and families.

One way to improve your own self is by helping others. Try volunteering in your community and serving others. Look for ways that you can use your talents to bless those around you and seek out opportunities to include your children.

I speak to myself more than anyone else here, but try to eliminate unnecessary stress in your life. If there are areas of your life that do not benefit yourself, your family or others, cut back on time spent there. We can all find blessings if we try to spend more time with family and friends this next year.

In making sure that you’re keeping yourself healthy, be sure you are up to date on physicals and routine screenings. It can benefit people of all ages to have a routine physical at least once a year. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be seen and what screenings you should have done at your age. Other ways to improve your general health are to get a full night’s sleep (again I’m talking to myself here), exercise three to five days per week and eliminate any tobacco use.

If you’re wanting to improve your diet, some considerations are to increase your water intake (plan for half of your body weight in ounces of water you should drink each day), increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet (found in fish and fish oil supplements), reduce your sugar and caffeine intake, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and be aware of and limit how many calories you drink. Tea, juice, sodas and specialty beverages can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake.

Choosing beneficial, yet realistic resolutions for 2016 will help set you up for success in your New Year. Share your resolutions with people close to you so they can help hold you accountable to your plans for improving yourself throughout the year. We can all use the New Year as an opportunity to make changes that can benefit ourselves – physically, mentally and even emotionally – and our families. 


A native of Conway, Katelin Whiddon is a family nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.