Are you keeping that New Year’s resolution?

Quitting smoking, eating healthier and exercising are three common New Year’s resolutions. They’re also some of the hardest resolutions to keep.

According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, adult Canadians should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity weekly – in bursts of ten minutes or more.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, a big reason why resolutions fail is that they’re too ambitious. Success is more likely if you take that big resolution and slice it into small, achievable goals

Resolution 1: Quit smoking

Although quitting can be difficult, it’s not impossible. Many smokers attempt to quit several times before giving up for good. Here are 4 small steps to help you stick to your goal:

  1. Don’t go cold turkey
    Ninety-five percent of smokers who try to quit ‘cold turkey’ end up relapsing. Talk to your doctor about therapies to help you through withdrawal. If you prefer a drug-free method, consider Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking program.

  2. Avoid common smoking triggers
    Until you’re over the worst of your cravings, avoid situations that trigger the urge to smoke. Surround yourself with people who want you to quit.

  3. Reward yourself along the way
    In Canada, a pack-a-day smoker can spend upwards of $300 monthly on cigarettes. Put away the money you save each month, or treat yourself to a spa day or other relaxing reward.

  4. Remember what’s happening to your body
    Your body repairs itself each day without a cigarette. Twenty minutes after quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate drop; two weeks later your lung function and circulation start to improve. One year after quitting, your excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.

Resolution 2: Eat healthier

The key to success is not to try to reform your entire diet at once. Set small goals: for example, add more fiber to your diet by replacing white bread with whole grain. Check the labels of foods you eat and resolve to reduce the amount of sugar, saturated fat or sodium you consume in a day. Add one extra fruit or vegetable to your daily meals.

Find out how your diet measures up to national guidelines using the Dieticians of Canada eaTracker.

Resolution 3: Start exercising

People who exercise frequently, moderately and with lots of variety will stay active their entire lives. In a study published in 2013 in the British Medical Journal, researchers found exercise to be potentially as effective as drug therapies for secondary prevention of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Secondary prevention means treating patients for existing disease before it progresses to serious illness.

Try finding ways to be active that you really enjoy. It might be playing with your kids, walking with a friend or joining a recreational sports team or fitness class. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, check with your doctor before starting a workout regime.

As a Blue Advantage subscriber, enjoy these discounts on health and lifestyle services from our partners:

What is Blue Advantage?

The Blue Advantage program allows Blue Cross members to save on medical, vision care and many other products and services offered by participating providers across Canada. The program is unique because it provides discounts at point of sale on the total cost of products and services from participating providers across Canada, regardless of whether the item is covered under your benefit plan. Simply present your Blue Cross identification card to the participating provider and mention the Blue Advantage program. Blue Advantage is just one more way Blue Cross is working in your community to offer members access to affordable, quality services and products that can help them make healthy lifestyle choices.

We encourage you to visit regularly to learn where you might find health care savings that are available in your area.