Do you vow to do the same thing every year to improve your health and appearance – and every year you get derailed? Well, no more! Here’s how to keep your top resolutions, courtesy of the researchers at Condé Nast Publications.  

  • I WILL give up smoking. Well, good news: you DON’T need to quit cold turkey. That’s really off-putting to some people so they don’t try at all. But research shoes that if you vow to cut back, then you’re more likely to quit altogether in the end. So make a plan to gradually wean yourself off the bad habit. And when you’re tempted to have a cigarette, take a 10-minute leisurely walk instead of a smoke break.
  • I WILL get more sleep. What you should really vow to do is get better sleep. Dr. Michael Silber is co-director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Mayo Clinic. And he says for the most rejuvenating shut-eye, avoid coffee or tea after 5PM. Caffeine stays in your body for hours and makes you restless. Also, your mattress pad could be the reason you’re not sleeping well! The new memory foam ones can trap in body heat, and being too warm at night can cause you to toss and turn.
  • I WILL kick my stress habit. This is a pretty ambitious goal considering how hectic your life probably is, but there’s a very doable first step: take deep breaths in the shower. Experts say that allowing yourself to loosen up first thing in the morning will help bring out your natural relaxation response – slower breathing and heart rate – which will in turn help you battle stress throughout the day. And every couple of hours, listen to a few songs on your iPod and turn off your email dinger. Taking these mini-breaks can be as effective as a yoga class. And you won’t even have to leave the office!