2020 new year, healthy resolutions

Make 2020 your healthiest year yet with a month-by-month commitment to wellness.

“If you want to shed bad habits and develop healthy ones, make your move,” says Sarah Emanuel, manager of wellness services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE). “Start with one healthy choice and keep going. Good habits can improve your health, boost your mood, increase your productivity and help you live longer.”

January | Make healthy resolutions

Whether your focus is physical activity or the foods you eat, the dawn of a new year is prime time to implement (or eliminate) a health habit. Keep your 2020 resolutions relevant by setting specific, measurable goals and working to achieve them in a set time frame.

“When you focus on one small part of your life that you can improve upon, the goal for better health becomes achievable in the long run,” Emanuel says.

February | Take care of your heart

Take a multiple-choice approach to boosting your heart health. Increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, practicing good oral hygiene and embracing a Mediterranean diet have all proven effective.

March | Eat healthfully

Keep that healthy eating vibe going in March and the payoff could be a reduction in levels of dangerous visceral belly fat — an improvement that can help prevent Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Need a healthy eating assist? Hy-Vee dietitians offer free, in-store nutrition tours and personal shopping assistance.

April | Preserve your vision

According to the CDC, people with vision problems are more likely to have diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure and strokes. Recommendations include regular, comprehensive dilated eye exams and wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.

May | Focus on fitness

If your commitment to fitness is low, consider going high-tech. Studies show people who use fitness trackers and exercise apps are more likely to exercise during their leisure time than those who don’t.

For example, BCBSNE offers its members, at no additional cost, a comprehensive health management program that combines technology and human connection with a HIPAA-secure app.

June | Drive safely

Resolve to keep your speeds down, patience up and distractions to an absolute minimum. Distracted driving, including texting while driving, contributes to more than 4,000 crashes daily in the United States, according to AAA Nebraska.

July | Keep your finances fit

As you focus on your physical health, don’t forget about your financial fitness. Certified retirement services professional Greg Cismoski recommends sitting down with an advisor at least once a year. If some budget tightening is in order, challenge yourself to save an extra 1% of your annual income.

August | Be proactive about preventive health

Don’t let a potentially life-saving benefit go unclaimed in 2020. Routine preventive care, including annual wellness visits, screenings, immunizations and counseling, are generally covered at 100% by most BCBSNE health plans. Learn more about BCBSNE’s approach to preventive care.

September | Sleep well

“Sleep is a very restorative time for the brain,” says Dr. Daniel L. Murman, director of the Behavioral and Geriatric Neurology Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Getting enough sleep is a lifestyle choice you can make now to potentially reduce risks for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

To ensure solid sleep (seven to nine hours a night for adults age 26 to 64), the National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a sleep schedule, exercising daily and turning off electronics before bed.

October | Prevent the flu

Don’t buy into the common myth that flu shots are only for certain groups of people. Everyone over six months of age should get a shot in autumn, as long as they are not allergic.

November | Detect and treat diabetes

High blood sugar levels, caused when your body doesn’t have enough insulin or use it effectively, can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb loss. Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of developing these complications. Get assistance managing your diabetes by connecting with a health care provider — a service that’s free for most BCBSNE members.

December | Stay healthy during the holidays

To stay healthy throughout the treat-laden holiday season, get active with the whole family, watch your beverage choices to avoid empty calories and curb your appetite with a healthy meal or snack before attending holiday parties.

Keep the momentum going

Do more than visualize your success in 2020; commit to it and take advantage of the resources like Blue365.

“The biggest barriers that people have to changing health habits are time, money and desire. Blue365 has curated products and services to save our members time and money,” Emanuel says.

Blue365 offers BCBSNE cardholders exclusive access to savings on products and services to improve or maintain good health, including health tracking devices, vision services, nutrition assistance, health enhancement programs and more.

Learn more about health plans and resources from BCBSNE at NebraskaBlue.com.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.