It’s estimated that more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but research from the University of Scranton shows that only eight percent of people actually achieve the goals that they set at the beginning of the year. One of the problems may be that their resolutions are too long or too complicated.

How about simplifying your resolution(s) and vowing to live a healthier lifestyle in 2014? Bethesda plastic surgeon Joseph Michaels has five tips to help you get started.

1.     Refine Your Diet

It’s tempting to want to completely change your diet, but you’re more likely to be successful if you take small, slow steps. For example, aim for one extra daily serving of fruits or vegetables. When you’re doing that consistently, add another. Or, select one day a week as “meat-free” and opt for fish instead.

Vow to be extremely judicious at the grocery store about what you put in your cart and take home with you. Shop the perimeter of the store, where the fresh foods are featured. Try to avoid the middle aisles, which house high-calorie snacks like chips, cookies, sugary-sweet cereals and soft drinks. If you leave these treats at the store, then you won’t be tempted to binge when you’re home.

2.     Switch Up Your Exercise Routine

Are you a cardio junkie? Cardio is great for promoting cardiovascular health and shedding fat, but modifying your routine can help you attain even better results. Incorporate some strength exercises into your routine. If you’re unfamiliar with weight lifting, a good place to start is a BodyPump class, offered at gyms around the country

Or, if you are a regular in the weight room, try a new cardio workout. If jogging or the elliptical machine bore you, try a specialized cardio class like Zumba, which takes its inspiration from various Latin American dance moves.

3.     Stay Connected

The cold winter months can leave most of us feeling hermit-like, but don’t be so quick to cancel your standing coffee date with your best friend, or decline the invitation to your neighbor’s party. Studies have shown that staying connected to your social circle is good for your physical health in many ways, like reducing the incidence of colds, having better disease survival rates and boosting your life expectancy.

4.     Explore Cosmetic Enhancement

If there’s an area of your face or body that makes you feel self-conscious, make this the year that you resolve to improve it. Dr. Michaels offers a range of surgical and non-surgical options to enhance your body, breasts, face and skin. Perhaps you’ve always wanted larger breasts, or you are tired of having a “muffin top.” Research the different types of breast implants and liposuction techniques, including in-office laser liposuction (SmartLipo), available with Dr. Michaels.

Did you lose a lot of weight in 2013 and you are now unhappy with the degree of loose, saggy skin obscuring your new curves? Dr. Michaels offers post-bariatric procedures designed to help you look fit and optimize your contour after significant weight loss.

Whatever your needs may be, make time to talk to Dr. Michaels about your personal aesthetic  goals and let him develop a customized treatment plan for you.

5.     Enjoy the Small Pleasures in Life

Even if you’re living an active, healthy lifestyle, make sure you’re taking the time to enjoy yourself! Spend more time outdoors, pamper yourself with a professional massage or a pedicure or catch up with an old friend over the phone. Treating yourself to small pleasures allows your brain to release serotonin, which helps you feel happier and healthier.

Schedule a Plastic Surgery Consultation

If you would like to learn more about a surgical or non-surgical procedure, please contact 301-468-5991 or 703-957-8610 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michaels.

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