Time to Break Free

By Doug Mayberry

February 20, 2017 4 min read

Q: Throughout the years, I've developed some bad habits and put off addressing them. I've made up my mind to make some changes, but I don't know of a good path to success.

Can you share some options?

A: You are not alone. In all honesty, most of us have developed some habits we know are not in our best interest but have learned not to think about them.

We can all easily find personal reasons to avoid the issues. Experts offer guidance, but accepting and making changes are difficult for most of us.

Success is often accomplished by taking baby steps. First, write down the problem that bothers you the most. Then, be true to yourself and admit in writing why you have not made the effort to change.

Identify your obstacles, and ask what the benefits will be of making the effort to change.

Make a plan, and set your goals. Initiate them for a trial period, and discover how much of a challenge you have set yourself up to perform.

Are you consistent? And do you see ongoing improvement during the first 30 days? Positive self-talk will help you persevere. It's like a roll of the dice. Often a positive attitude will improve your outcome! — Doug

HEALTH FIRST

Q: I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to be around my children. Coming from the Midwest, I've noticed a definite difference in the air quality here, and I worry about its effect on my health.

What can I do to stay healthy?

A: You are definitely right to consider the effects of pollution and what they mean for you. The air quality in urban areas can differ greatly due to the denser population and number of vehicles.

Los Angeles is notorious for having poor quality air, although it has improved vastly in the last few decades. Keeping informed will allow you to make healthy adjustments in your lifestyle.

According to recent research out of the University of Southern California, the elderly are especially vulnerable to air pollution. Poor air quality can worsen existing conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and more. Researchers also found an association between outdoor air pollution and cognitive function.

However, there are options you can choose to mitigate these effects. If you have the option of moving, air quality can vary significantly between neighborhoods. On a day-to-day basis, you can alter your activities to accommodate the air quality.

The Environment Protection Agency publishes a daily Air Quality Index, or AQI, which you can check in the newspaper or on the EPA's AirNow website. On days with worse air quality, limit your activities outdoors.

If you are especially sensitive, you should check the AQI daily and plan your errands and outings for better days. Additionally, make sure that your home has better air inside. Clean regularly; avoid smoking; and consider using a humidifier. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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