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13 steps to make 2013 your best year yet

Last updated on: December 24, 2012 16:43 IST

13 steps to make 2013 your best year yet

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Based on decades of study, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have offered 13 notable, no-holds-barred, what-are-you-waiting-for tips to make 2013 your best year yet.

1. Make 2013 the year you commit to lifelong learning

"Taking a class in a subject you enjoy is a great way to rekindle your love of learning. If you give yourself the freedom to explore new interests, you might uncover a passion that you never knew existed," said Robert E. Wiltenburg, PhD, dean of University College, the professional and continuing education division of Arts and Sciences at Washington University.


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2. Walk in the park

A quick walk in the park can do wonders to reduce stress and increase focus, according to Aaron Hipp, PhD, environmental health expert and assistant professor of social work at WUSTL's Brown School.


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3. Volunteer

Volunteering is good for your physical and mental health, as well as the local economy, said Amanda Moore McBride, PhD, associate professor and associate dean for social work at the Brown School and director of the university's Gephardt Institute for Public Service.

"Research links volunteering with improved overall well-being, and connections between people within a community correlates with strong economic indicators," she noted.


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4. Get your social media house in order

The Internet and social media have opened up exciting new possibilities to connect with others and new vistas to share our preferences in films, books and music. Have fun. But be cautious.



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5. Rediscover the library

A library card can be the most powerful item in your wallet, opening up vast resources that will enrich your life and give you access to more than you can imagine, said Jeffrey G. Trzeciak, university librarian at WUSTL.


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6. Step away from your desk

Physical activity improves health, lowers stress and increases productivity. In addition research has shown that exercise reduces the risk of diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer and Alzheimer's.


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7. Pay down your credit card debt

Paying down your debt more quickly is a positive step toward a happier, more prosperous new year.


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8. Use your smart phone to quit smoking

If you use nicotine replacement therapy and take advantage of some form of counseling to help, you are more likely to be successful in quitting, Sarah Shelton, manager of research and evaluation at the Brown School's Center for Public Health Systems Science.

Use your smart phone to get text messages of support, tweets and access websites that give step-by-step encouragement, Shelton suggested.


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9. Mind your health

Committing to eating a healthy breakfast, paying attention to grocery nutrition labels or sticking with a consistent exercise regimen can help you get healthier in the new year.


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10. Kick the car habit

Leave your sedan, SUV or minivan in the garage and try alternative means of transportation, such as public transit, bicycling, walking or park-and-ride commuting.
 
Shifting your commuting habits can have a measurable impact on the environment and on your health, said Phil Valko, director of sustainability at WUSTL.


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11. Parents should make every day count

In order to be happy, well-adjusted children that grow into happy, well-adjusted adults, kids need happy, well-adjusted parents, said Kelly L. Ross, an assistant professor in the Department of Newborn Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine.


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12. Get more sleep

For decades studies have confirmed the positive effects of overnight sleep on our ability to retain information and to perform tasks.

In fact, recent research suggests that sleep may help clear the brain for new learning.


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13. Consume more culture

Make it a point to visit your local museums, galleries, theaters, dance companies and music venues.

The arts not only educate and entertain, but they help us to better understand ourselves and others.


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Source: ANI