If you haven’t already made your New Year’s resolutions, allow us to make it easier for you. Ten experts gave TulsaPeople their advice on popular resolutions, including saving money, quitting smoking, traveling and more.
If you want to exercise more in the New Year, position yourself for success. Keith Kochner, owner of www.livestreamingfitness.com, says unrealistic, impractical or boring workout resolutions are a recipe for failure.
Realistic goals include losing 1-2 pounds a week and parking farther away from your destination. Tell loved ones about your resolve to change, and don’t forget to reward yourself.
"Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution," Kochner says.
Here are Kochner’s exercise suggestions:
Keep a food journal
"This will help keep track of what you eat and give you a support system," Kochner says.
Do it together
"Families who do a healthy fitness regimen together stay healthier longer," Kochner says. "There are many programs that include all ages that are available to help make family time fun and avoid the boredom of the same old routines."
Kochner recommends keeping a handful of almonds, mixed nuts and fruits available. "To stay at a healthy weight, you have to eat," he says.
Ease into exercising
"Take walking breaks during your work day to help get in the 30 minutes that you might not have time for later in the day," Kochner says. "Use your alarm on your phone to remind yourself throughout the day to get going."
If a will or trust is on your mind, it might be time to get organized and call an estate-planning attorney.
Karen Carmichael of Karen L. Carmichael and Associates P.C., explains that "a will is a dormant document that may or may not be triggered depending on how you own your assets at the time of your death."
Carmichael says health care documents are also critical — "Everything from a living will, which is the advanced directive for health care; a very well-written health care power of attorney; and a durable power of attorney.
"Sometimes the person you want being your nurturer is not the person you want handling the money," she says. "Durable handles the money while you’re incapacitated."
For help determining the best plan, initiate an open, honest relationship with an estate-planning attorney.
Get out of debt
Struggling with debt? Harvie Roe, president of AmeriTrust Corporation, suggests taking a detailed inventory of the types of debt — whether credit card, mortgages or others, and their rates and terms.
Next, look at the lifestyle side of the ledger. How much does it cost to maintain your lifestyle, including the debt? Where can you make changes? A shift in your lifestyle might mean downsizing your home or trading out your car for an older model.
"If you can’t figure out how to create some free cash flow, then you’re probably spending more than you’re making, and the debt will get out of hand, if it didn’t already," Roe says.
It’s also important to prioritize.
"You don’t want to pay 3 percent student debt off before you pay 22 percent credit card debt off," Roe says. "If the person can’t pay it, then they either have to make arrangements with the credit card company to pay it off over time or quit using it or both."
Roe also suggests visualizing a triangle with points for assets, leverage/debt and income.
"Any two of those points can be negative — high debt, lower income and high assets — and you can get out of the problem," Roe says. "But any time three of them are out of sync at one time, that’s bankruptcy. There’s no way to get out of that triangle except file for bankruptcy or some outside source bails you out. You have to have one that’s positive."
Sometimes, it’s difficult to know how to start saving. Donna C. Hiner, a certified financial planner with DCH Financial Services, offers the following advice:
- Begin saving — or increase your savings by 1 percent — in your 401k or IRA. Start small and increase it every January.
- Bring your lunch to work two days a week rather than eating out every day.
- Involve your kids in clipping coupons for groceries. Give them half the savings for helping. This saves you money and teaches them math and good savings habits.
- Use your public library to save money on movies, books and music.
- Bring treats and drinks from home for your kids’ ball games and practices. It can be healthier and save you money.
Here’s the good news. Research shows 75 percent of smokers want to quit. But how do you get started?
Corey Love, tobacco and prevention control coordinator with the Tulsa Health Department, suggests sharing your goal with your family.
Oklahoma has a free help line, 1-800-Quit-Now, that provides coaching tips, personalized quitting plans and starter kits, which include gum, patches and lozenges.
Love also recommends doing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services five-day countdown before quitting. To get started, make your home and car tobacco-free zones.
First day: Write down your reasons for quitting and stop buying cigarettes.
Second day: Pay attention to when and why you smoke. Think of things to hold in your hand instead of a cigarette.
Third day: Make a list of what you’ll do with the extra money you’ll save.
Fourth day: Buy a nicotine patch or gum.
Fifth day: Destroy all cigarettes and clean your clothes so they no longer smell like smoke.
On quitting day, reward yourself.
"Quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your health overall," Love says.
We’ve all been there. The driver in front of you is driving too slowly; your boss is getting on your nerves; the list goes on.
Dr. Courtney Linsenmeyer-O’Brien, says your choices and behaviors lead you to complain. You can either invite unhappiness or bring peace into your life.
"You are responsible for your own journey if you choose," Linsenmeyer-O’Brien says.
Unrealistic expectations of yourself and those around you can also bring on negativity.
To improve your outlook, Linsenmeyer-O’Brien suggests:
- Recognize that health and relationships are things you cannot buy, and time is something you cannot get back.
- Prioritize your life and eliminate the toxic pieces that don’t fit a long-term health plan or that create sickness.
- Strengthen overall health and relationship decisions, seek professional help when you need it and set realistic life expectations for yourself.
- Don’t expect others to make you happy or treat you any differently than you treat yourself.
Taras Tikhomirov, owner of Spa Lux, offers a fundamental tip: "If you are unhealthy, then you cannot enjoy life."
To start, he suggests healthy diet and exercise habits. If means permit, support your wellness with additional treatments like massage.
"When you take care of yourself, you feel much more energy, confidence, joy — you can really enjoy life then," Tikhomirov says.
Preventative care — checking in with your doctor before you get sick — and nurturing emotional wellbeing are also important.
"We all get over-stressed, whether over family, work or somewhere else," Tikhomirov says. "Take a breath of fresh air, so to speak, and relax and let things go and be forgotten for a while — that helps, and it reflects on your wellbeing."
Updating or changing your look might also be a part of your New Year’s vision.
Dr. Greg Ratliff with Plastic Surgery Center of Tulsa says aesthetic surgery breaks down into three main areas: face, breast and body.
Face treatments include light chemical peels, fillers, Botox and facelifts.
The more change you need, the more invasive the surgery becomes, he says.
Ratliff suggests CoolSculpting for fit individuals who have a bulge they can’t eliminate. It doesn’t interfere with workouts, and "you can lose about 60-70 percent of the volume of the bulge."
He recommends seeing a doctor that offers a wide range of services at various levels of invasiveness.
"Otherwise you run the risk of them saying, ‘This is what I have, so this must be right for you,’" he says.
Ratliff leaves you with this advice: "Any kind of cosmetic surgery buys time, but it doesn’t stop the aging process. Aging gracefully is great."
Malissa Spacek, managing partner at the BA Med Spa and Weight Loss Center, recommends you begin your journey toward feeling better by personally assessing your situation.
"In many cases, the clients we meet are under heavy amounts of stress from different life circumstances such as death, divorce and aging parents," Spacek says.
A healthy diet and regular exercise program including stretching, yoga and some form of aerobics helps lower stress levels, she says.
Check with your primary care physician for additional solutions and consider a med spa, which provides non-invasive to minimally invasive services.
"Dermal fillers and Ultherapy can lift and volumize the face and neck, while procedures like CoolSculpting can be used to reduce bulk and sculpt a more youthful figure," Spacek says. "In some cases, clients need more results than we can deliver, and we are always happy to help our clients by referring them to one of our excellent local plastic surgeons."
Saving money can set you on track to hop on a plane or train or hit the road.
A study conducted by the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, suggests that travel provides the same kind of physical and cognitive benefits as museum visits or crossword puzzles.
You can get started by scheduling an appointment with a professional travel adviser.
Debbie Taylor, World Travel vice president of vacation and group travel, says an increasingly common role of travel advisors is to help clients "define and create their bucket list."
Your adviser will ask several questions to get to know you and create a customized, unique travel plan.
"We’ll take the time to build a travel profile and find out your travel style before we even make a suggestion about a vacation," Taylor says.
Use your adviser as a resource on the ever-changing travel standards.
"These days, the airlines consider seat assignments to be a courtesy, not a guarantee," Taylor says. "Be sure to talk about seats with your adviser."
Taylor offers the following advice:
- Be aware of baggage restrictions and weight limits before you get to the airport.
- Check in for your flight 24 hours in advance to receive notice of flight changes.