Article also appeared in Antigo Daily Journal/Journal Express Health and Fitness, January 23, 2017
by Karen Hegranes, BSN, MSN, Health Officer
We have arrived in 2017 and have high hopes that this year the resolutions talked about in December will become a reality in the next few months. According to Dr. J.C. Norcross, PhD, clinical professor at the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, 40% of Americans will actually declare a resolution to make a change in the New Year. A Harris interactive poll of more than 3,000 adults found that the top five resolutions were: weight loss, improved finances, exercise, getting a new job, and healthier eating.
How can we be sure we are starting off on the right foot with our resolution? Dr. Norcross has written the book on successful resolutions called, “Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.” His research tracking people who are successful resolvers starts at the beginning of the year with their plan.
- First, develop a specific action plan. Example: I am going to increase my physical activity in 2017. Then look at what you are planning to do differently to actually incorporate more physical activity in your day. I will walk five times a week for 30 minutes, either outside or on the treadmill. Have an alternative healthy choice. I can substitute water aerobics or shorter 10-minute walks throughout the day.
- Secondly, those who are successful establish their confidence level that they can keep the resolution, even if they have an occasional slip up. On a scale of 1 to 10 their confidence should be at least 8 or 9 to be truly committed to their goal. High confidence is a strong predictor, according to Dr. Norcross, of who’s going to succeed with their resolution.
- The third secret ingredient of success is to publicly declare your resolution. People who use Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram are constantly seeing others declare their plan to lose weight and even will show before and after photos. By telling other people in your circle of friends or family, you can be held accountable for your success. Public commitments are typically more effective than private declarations.
- The fourth step is to reflect if you have selected a realistic, attainable goal. If you know that you already walk 30 minutes three times a week and you know that the dog would really like a nice walk five times a week, then you probably are being realistic with this goal. However, if you barely get a walk in once a week now, you might want to reconsider the quantity to a more realistic three times a week. You will be more satisfied if you can obtain and go beyond your goal than if you select an activity level that is not realistic.
So if you have been enjoying the holiday treats and are already dreading what shorts and swimsuits might look like in a few months, take this opportunity to put these four easy steps into motion toward a successful, healthy resolution. Whether you exercise inside or out, get moving and enjoy our community and Mother Nature offers.
For more information on health, check our webpage – langladecountyhealth.org – or call the health department at 715-627-6250.
Take a moment to view a video featuring Langlade Health Coalition.
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared”. The Langlade County Health Department takes that message seriously and so should you. Planning and preparing for emergency situations requires you to think through situations in advance before the emergency is upon you so that you are able to face challenges and survive the event. What would you do if you were affected by a prolonged power outage or stranded due to severe weather, and had no food, water, or other supplies to get you through the crisis? How long could your family survive without electricity, heat, transportation, or the ability to communicate with the outside world? What if there was a fire and you had to evacuate your dwelling quickly? These are the types of questions that you need to ask yourself and your family when preparing for emergencies.
The first thing that you should do is discuss these issues with your family. Communication is important in any emergency and discussing these issues beforehand allows for a more effective response. Make sure that everyone understands what role they play and what needs to be done in an emergency situation.
If you need to evacuate your building quickly, have an evacuation plan ready. Family members and pets must be located quickly and be ready to evacuate the area as planned. If time and safety permit, retrieve important documents such as insurance papers, medical information, and the names and contact information for friends and other family members that you may need to contact later. It is a good idea to have copies of any important documents stored in another location such as with a trusted friend, family member, or in a safe deposit box in case the originals are destroyed. Have medications in one easy to locate area, as well as car keys, cell phones, and other personal items that you may need to take.
If you become stranded in your home due to inclement weather, or experience an extended power outage, you should have a survival kit available. These kits are prepared ahead of time and contain various items you may need if you are without electricity, water, or heat for a prolonged period of time. The kits should include a three day supply of drinking water (1 gallon per family member per day, not including pets), canned foods, dry cereal and crackers, juices, paper plates, cups, and utensils, baby food or formula, and pet food if you have pets. Other items include a portable radio, batteries, candles, matches, a flashlight, blankets, hand sanitizer, garbage bags, paper towels, toilet tissue, feminine hygiene products, diapers, first aid kit, and over-the-counter medication such as pain relievers and vitamins. If using a portable heating device, remember that these units must be properly vented to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. The emergency kits should be stored in a cool dry place in large sealable containers. Rotate the supplies once or twice a year and check the “use-by” dates in order to keep items fresh.
The items that I listed may or may not fit your purposes and do not take into account all possible types of emergency situations, but the idea is to think about what you will need and then prepare accordingly. It is important to start a family discussion on these topics and form a plan. Remember to include the children or grandchildren (they might have fun assembling the survival kit), and make concessions for your pets or other animals. Surviving an emergency can be a challenge, but with effective communication and proper planning, you can be just as “prepared” as a Boy Scout.