by RYAN BARENCHI, MD; Scripps Clinic, Encinitas

Simple New Year’s Healthy Resolutions… And How to Keep Them

barenchiAmbitions are high after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. It’s a new year and a chance for a new you. Millions of Americans set lofty health-related resolutions for the year to come, from reviving their gym membership and losing weight to quitting smoking. But, before you spend money on a new workout wardrobe or go boom-or-bust on the next fad diet, consider these modest tips for a healthier you in 2015:

• Walk at least 30 minutes, three times a week. Gradually progress to walking every day.
• Eat a diet that’s high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, but low in saturated fats.
• Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
• Get adequate sleep. Sleeping at least seven hours a night typically benefits adults by boosting alertness and decreasing their chances of causing a traffic accident.
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on exposed skin.
• Stop using tobacco. See your doctor for cessation strategies.
• Choose a primary care physician who’s a “good fit” and you’ll be more likely to keep your cholesterol under control, know your risk factors for diabetes, and undergo preventive health screenings that can help catch diseases in the early stages.

Committing to a healthier lifestyle is only half of the battle; making your new health choices habit is the key to success. Here are a few tips for making your changes permanent:

• Take it one change at a time. Change is hard; don’t make it harder with multiple changes at once.
• Energize naturally. Self-restraint takes energy, and the best way to replace your energy levels is with natural glucose from fruit sources – the artificial stuff won’t work.
• Laugh it off. Feeling overwhelmed? Put on a funny movie, or watch your favorite cat video online – doing something that makes you laugh helps release tension.
• Give it 90%, not 100%. Perfection is usually unattainable. Hold yourself to a reasonable standard – no one is perfect.
• Pump up the jams. Grab your earbuds and play some of your favorite upbeat songs. Music can put you in a better mood and also serve as motivation.
• Employ the buddy system. Find a friend or two who are striving for similar goals and coach each other. You may be less likely to fall off the wagon if someone is helping you stay accountable.

Ryan Barenchi, MD, is a family medicine physician at Scripps Clinic in Encinitas. Dr. Barenchi provides care for all ages and treats a wide range of medical issues.

Looking for a new doctor? To find a Scripps physician near you call 760-292-2720 or visit