New year brings many renewed hope for health

Rob Treynor The Madison Press

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?

“My New Year’s resolution is to not have any New Years resolutions,” said Shane Coffey of London.

He’s not alone. The frustration from not reaching past goals often stifles the setting of new ones.

Still, most people are looking for ways to better themselves.

“I had a good year this year and I hope to have another just like it,” said Paul Faust, 82, of West Jefferson. “But I’m a diabetic, and I need to cut down the sweets.”

London’s Terry Johnson of Play N Trade said, “I know it sounds corny, and it’s pretty much the same old, same old: I’m looking to better myself and make next year a better year than this last one.”

Popular New Year’s resolutions are often about improving physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol and quit smoking.

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol showed that 88 percent of those who set New Year resolutions fail. Often resolutions fail because they’re too vague.

Selecting a specific goal (e.g. lose 10 pounds by April, exercise twice a week for 30 minutes, etc.) may prove to be a more successful way of keeping to a resolution.

Working together with a friend, colleague or loved one toward a goal of a healthier lifestyle may also benefit and allow the resolution to be achieved.

There are numerous free resources on the web that can aid one in a healthier lifestyle. Here’s a few examples:

• MyFitnessPal is a free app that allows users to track the calories of the foods they eat. Users set a goal of calorie limits per day, and then track the food and drink consumed each day. The app adds up the calories, and the user can see how well they’re eating. The app is available for most smartphones and tablets at There’s a web-based version available, too.

• is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition website, which offers solutions to how to eat healthy on a budget. The site includes a body mass index calculator, tools for tracking calorie intake and tips and advice on exercising.

• FitnessBlender ( is a Youtube channel with 300+ full-length workout videos plus new routines every week. Workouts are broken out into various playlist: Fat Burning Cardio Workouts, At Home Ab Workout Videos, All Full Length Workout Videos, etc. The Fitness Blender website ( also offers 4-8 week fat loss programs for sale.

• The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a website called “Rethinking Drinking” ( which offers valuable resources to people seeking to curb alcohol consumption. Included on the site is a cocktail content calculator, which measures alcohol by volume of popular mixed drinks.

• QuitNow! is an app available for Android and iPhone to aid those quitting smoking with how to cope with the anxiety which goes along with nicotine withdrawal. The app tracks the time (days, hours, minutes) since the last cigarette of one’s life, how many cigarettes one has avoided, and the money saved since the user’s last cigarette.

Here’s to a successful 2014, and to successfully keeping to one’s New Year’s resolutions. If not, there’s always the resolution to quit making resolutions in the future.