We all make resolutions as that glittery ball falls in Times Square. We vow to eat better, drink less, exercise more - and then we don't follow through. But it turns out there are smaller habits that are easier, and more important, to break. These 7 deadly sins are taking years off our lives and we don't even know it. Make this year the one in which you made 7 small changes that can add a decade (yes, a decade) to your life.
Deadly habit 1: Not Stretching In The Morning
Moving your body and releasing stress first thing is critical to preparing for a day where you are in control of your body.
Replacement: The 7-Minute Stretch
You can come up with your own or try out the routine Dr. Oz does first thing when he gets out of bed. It will center you for the day ahead and help you focus on taking good care of yourself.
Deadly Habit 2: Not Eating Breakfast
If you don't eat right when you wake up, your body senses a famine is coming and slows your metabolism to compensate. Then, when your body is presented food later, it's ravenous and wants to pack it in, leading to bingeing with a slow metabolism - a recipe for weight gain.
Replacement: Have A Small Breakfast Ready To Go
Dr. Oz 's Magical Breakfast Blaster from YOU: On a Diet is a smoothie of blueberries, bananas, psyllium husks, flax, soy protein, and honey. The fiber in the psyllium and flax helps regulate your metabolism throughout the day. Or try peanut butter on whole wheat bread. It doesn't have to be big, just a little metabolic kickstart.
Deadly Habit 3: Running Late
Being perpetually late adds unnecessary stress to your life and takes control away from you, giving it to the people you disappoint and to the clock. That added stress, in turn, can lead to chronic inflammation and high blood pressure, which are linked to all kinds of diseases.
Replacement: Set Your Watch 5 Minutes Ahead
It's a simple trick that will help you make appointments, get out of the rush rut, and lower stress.
Deadly Habit 4: Mindless Eating
Hitting the vending machine at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, raiding the pantry several times a day, eating through a bag of chips before we even realized we've opened them. We're all guilty of eating without thinking about it sometimes. Problem is that often we are eating out of boredom, for a distraction, or to fill a hunger that can't be met by food. And when we fill up on junk food, we add unhealthy calories, gaining fat and stressing our liver.
Replacement: Mindful Eating
Everything we eat should nourish us, and the ability to focus on that will help us all meet our goals of losing or maintaining weight. A simple solution is to pre-plan meals, especially snacks. On Sunday night, pack a variety of healthy snacks--12 almonds, one string cheese, 2 tablespoons of cranberries, 5 dark chocolates, 18 mini pretzels--in individual plastic bags for the week ahead. At 3pm on any day, you can reach for a baggie and know you are giving your body a good boost.
Deadly Habit 5: Becoming A Couch Potato
Flopping down in front of the TV at the end of a long day can feel good, but it's actually doing a world of hurt to your body. Your metabolism still needs a workout as the evening draws to a close. Without it, your muscle turns to fat. Every decade we increase our percentage of fat by 5%.
Replacement: Half Hour Of Movement
Do squats while you watch TV, play with the kids, rearrange the closet, take a walk, do dishes, have a family dance party. Just figure out a way to get in a half hour of movement after dinner to give your metabolism something to do.
Deadly Habit 6: Disconnecting
So many of us pull away from the people who support us at exactly the times we need them most--when we're going through a divorce, facing a financial crisis, feeling bad about our bodies. Adding the stress of bottled up emotions to already challenging times only leads to health problems down the road.
Human beings provide a social web that holds us all up. So call your mother, get back in touch with a college friend, make a plan to have coffee with an old work pal, send a thank you note to your high school teacher. If you surround yourself with support, you can weather the bad times with less stress and add years to your life.
Deadly Habit 7: Not Having A Bedtime
Kids have to be in bed at 8, but adults fill their evenings with TV, to-do lists, chores and more, falling into bed at a different (and later) time each night. That irregularity not only means fewer hours of sleep, but a lesser quality of sleep, both of which are causes of weight gain and disease.
Replacement: Planning A Bedtime
All of us need 7 and a half hours of sleep nightly to maintain good health, but sleeping well comes easy to few of us. It actually takes practice and routine, and it's one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Count back 7 hours from when you wake up and make that your bedtime. If it's 10:30, then you should be heading to bed at 10pm.