New Year's Resolutions, Make Them a Reality (cont.)

"Tracking makes you more accountable for your actions," Moore says. "You're more likely to follow through."

New Year's Resolution No. 2: Bond With Kids

Take a good look at your kids: Would you recognize them in a lineup? If life's so chaotic you're rarely together, that needs to change. Nadine Kaslow, MD, a professor at Emory University School of Medicine and chief psychologist for Grady Health System in Atlanta, offers advice:

  1. Plan regular family fun, such as weekend outings or family vacations. "Parents can set the limits in terms of time and money," Kaslow tells WebMD. "But the family votes, and the majority rules. That means you don't always get what you want, but sometimes you do." It's a good life lesson.

  2. Schedule family meal time. Be realistic, but get everyone together several nights a week.

  3. Appreciate each other. Go to the kids' games and performances. Establish a family ritual for honoring achievements -- whether it's a parent's promotion, a kid's good grades, a first job, or the first band concert.

  4. Get the family involved in community volunteer work, such as a monthly Feed the Homeless program or helping with the city's annual Thanksgiving dinner.

  5. Plan family meetings to discuss issues of concern, like "chauffeuring" challenges.

Don't overwhelm the kids with all this at once. Baby steps, remember, for these New Year's resolutions. Get reacquainted with your kids gradually, one step at a time. But make sure fun is a top priority, Kaslow says.

New Year's Resolution No 3: Reduce Stress

Try not to obsess over things you have no control over, such as the economy, Iraq, or terrorism, advises David Baron, MD, chairman of psychiatry at Temple University Hospital and School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He also says:

  1. Listen to your body. When it says "enough," it probably is.

  2. Remember, "all things in moderation." Too much of anything is usually not healthy.

  3. Take time for yourself each day, even if it's only a brief time.

  4. Don't lose sight of the big picture. We often get overwhelmed by details that get blown out of proportion, even on a bad day.

  5. Find something to be thankful for. Do at least one fun (healthy) thing a day.

Also, as often as possible, get a good night's sleep, says Baron. Sufficient sleep has a powerful affect on emotional health and well-being.

New Year's Resolution No. 4: Work on Health

Regular checkups, exercise, relaxation, healthy eating -- they all factor into good body maintenance. Checkups get especially important as you get older. Here are tips from Sharon Horesh, MD, an internist with the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta:

"Deep breathing from the rib cage area -- while sitting at your computer or sitting in traffic -- will reduce your stress."

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