New Year – new resolve in managing chronic disease

Achieving personal success.

Did you know that the first New Year’s Resolution started more than 4,000 years ago with the ancient Babylonians? Back then, it centered on field crops, agriculture and debt collecting by returning borrowed equipment. Today, resolutions focus mainly on personal goals: Restricting calories, weight and body mass index, and increasing our physical activity.

For those with chronic illness, taking care of oneself is a job 365 days of the year. Many already understand that overindulging in food and inactivity does not help chronic illness. Living with chronic illness means accepting the realism you’re going to have, on both good and not so good days. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with a family history of chronic disease (for instance cancer, diabetes or coronary heart disease) may have the most to gain by setting personal, healthier lifestyle goals.

Your chronic illness need not prevent you from an attainable, healthy resolution.

Instead of focusing solely on the cant’s: Limit high calorie foods, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and processed foods.

Focus on the can: Relaxing more, incorporating heart healthy recipes each week, safely indulge in the physical activities you are able to do, and be grateful for what you’ve already accomplished.

Whether you choose the more traditional resolutions; smoking cessation, weight loss and increasing physical activity, remember to include calorie free indulgences such as inner peace and happiness. Celebrate! We’ve come a long way from the ancient Babylonians!

Michigan State University Extension is available and welcomes any questions you have on health and nutrition. To learn more about chronic health, prevention and nutrition contact an educator in your area or visit

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