Business Digest - January, 2011

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Beating the Chronic Pain Cycle   Theo's Corner  

Sticking to Your Resolutions

It's that time of year again! After a month of feasting and fun, it is natural to feel like making a change. Our resolve is at its peak, since we are feeling the effects of overindulging. But by February, almost everyone has given up. Has making-and breaking-your New Year's Resolutions become a pattern for you? This year, take some extra steps to help you keep your new resolve.

Make a Decision

Just deciding to make a change isn't enough. You will have to think through the steps you have to take to make it work. This almost always involves sacrifices. Many people are resistant to change because they are afraid of the sacrifices involved. Spend some time thinking about the consequences of retaining your current habits. Making a list can be helpful. And don't just include the negatives. Make a list of all the benefits you will receive when you stick to your resolution and post your list where you can see it every day, in several places if necessary. Also don't forget to be realistic. There is nothing that kills a great resolution faster than making your goal unattainable. Take things one at a time and know that the best results come from a slow and steady tackling of your problem.

Make a Plan

So you know what you want to do. How do you do it? You will have to develop a plan of action that is both realistic and concrete. If you wish to lose weight, for example, it is not helpful to simply say, "I'm going to eat less," or "I'm not going to eat any desserts again." Besides being probably not true, these types of statements are easy to rationalize away. You may say, "Well, this is a special occasion," or "I'm going to treat myself just this once." Before you know it, you've given up. You need a better plan. Consider forming a support system of family and friends, who can help you stick to your plan. Instead of using the word "try," tell yourself you "will" stick to your plan. Be good to yourself by getting enough sleep and working in some rewards for sticking to your resolutions. If you are quitting smoking, for instance, save the money you normally spend on cigarettes in a jar for a month. At the end of each month, do something special with the money-go on a shopping jaunt, invest in the stock market, or take some friends out for a special dinner.

Plan for a Slip-Up

The most common reason people give up their New Year's resolutions is that they cheated or slipped up one time. They then think that it is over and there is really no reason to continue. Plan ahead and have a contingency plan for any slip-ups you have. Take time when you do falter to look at the reasons why. Try to learn from your mistakes and make a firm resolution to start again. Remember, that we can almost always find an excuse not to do things. Tell yourself that this is non-negotiable, and you may find it easier to tackle. If you find that you are having trouble going it alone, consider getting extra help from a support group or a counselor trained in helping people modify their behavior.

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Beating the Chronic Pain Cycle

If you find that you are suffering from aches and pains every day, you may be in a cycle that develops over time. Many people ignore the daily pains that come from working at a computer, being on your feet all day, or other occupational hazards. But if these pains are not addressed, you can end up with irreparable damage to your body.

There are many causes of daily pain, including body positioning at work, too much sitting or standing, injuries from workouts, or even stress. To help alleviate some of these concerns, try these techniques:

Move around.

Getting up and moving around during the day helps your circulation and keeps your muscles healthier. If you have a sedentary job, try to get up at least once every two hours for a short walk or some moderate stretching.

Consider your posture.

Poor posture can easily lead to chronic pain. When sitting, don't slump your shoulders forward. You should also have an ergonomic workspace if possible. If you are behind the wheel for much of the day, you still need to concentrate on good posture. Place your seat in a position that allows you to easily reach the pedals without having the steering wheel too close to your chest. Sitting up straight, even in the car, can help with those aches and pains.

Talk to your doctor.

If you find that you are doing everything right (a good workstation, frequent breaks, good posture, stretching before exercising) and you still are suffering from daily pain, you should talk to your doctor. He or she can help develop a plan to give you the tools you need to cut back on the stress on your body and begin to heal before more damage is done.

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Theo's Corner

Should You Buy Pet Insurance?

More and more medical services are offered for dogs and cats every year. In fact, you can now get chiropractic service, antidepressants, and even grief counseling for your furry friend. But with these treatments come ever increasing costs. According to the American Pet Products Association, last year more than $10 million was spent on veterinary services in the United States alone. And this figure continues to rise about six percent each year.

To help pay for these expenses, many pet owners are turning to pet insurance. If you haven't yet purchased this insurance for your dog or cat, you may be wondering if it is right for you. The first thing to examine is the cost. Pet insurance, just like your health insurance, has co-pays, deductibles, limits, and an annual premium. You need to add up everything you would spend to see if the cost makes sense for you.

You also need to know what the policy would provide. Some cover only accidents, injuries, and illnesses, while others offer coverage for routine care as well. You do need to be sure if there is coverage for chronic or long-term diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Some policies only offer coverage for these conditions with an added cost.

After adding up all of these costs, compare that to what you have spent in the past for veterinary care. Many pet owners find that it is not worth the money for pet insurance. A better bet may be to put some money aside every month in a savings account to provide for an illness or other treatment. Your vet may also offer a wellness program that offers discounts for routine care. But if you are concerned about your ability to pay a large vet bill or you need some extra peace of mind, pet insurance may be best for you.

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