According to Dr. Andrew Yacht, Vice Chair of Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center, most of us try to make too many changes all at once – setting ourselves up for failure. He cautions his patients to set modest goals in order to achieve better health in 2012.

First, see your doctor and find out where you stand. If you have a significant medical problem, follow your doctor’s recommendations. If you are relatively healthy, just lacking in overall fitness, try the following…

Instead of focusing on what you should give up, try thinking of things to ADD to your lifestyle. Dr. Yacht suggests adding these four simple things that are good for people of all ages and fitness levels:

  • Go for a walk – often! You’ll reduce stress, strengthen your immune system and increase your overall energy.
  • Add a serving of vegetables to your lunch and dinner every day.
  • Add whole grains to your menus – maybe try a new one, like barley or quinoa; or try a new recipe with familiar whole grains.
  • Add a couple of glasses of water to your daily fluid intake.
“If you spend January doing those four things, you will be healthier by February,” says Dr. Yacht. “You might want to add more exercise or focus more on dietary changes at that time – or just maintain those new healthy habits for a few months and get more ambitious in the Spring.”

Dr. Yacht has one other suggestion to improve your chances for success: ask a friend or family member to join you in these four simple lifestyle changes. Research shows that most people do better with the “buddy system.” 
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