New Year resolutions: 2013 'quit smoking, stop speeding' year for UAE residents

Personal well-being scores over dream job, career changes as Emirates 24|7 and its readers suggest some resolutions for the next year

With the New Year just around the corner, our goal is to start 2013 on a better note, avoiding the mistakes and pitfalls of this year. Most often, many of us overwhelm ourselves with resolutions that are primarily limited to increasing income, securing financial goals, getting a dream job or making a career change.

Dubai, of course, is a city of dreams – where we all come with the aim of making loads of money and hope to retire rich in no time. But in this hectic pace of life, we make small mistakes or overlook the little things that can make our lives more wholesome and enhance the feeling of personal well-being.

Emirates 24|7 and its readers have come up some New Year resolutions ideas that can ensure well-being by focusing on the essentials in life, some of them not very difficult to achieve.

1. Quit smoking

We put the most difficult one first on the list – quitting smoking. It’s definitely not an easy habit to let go and some of our readers shared with us their experience. It took many of them more than a few tries, say the successful ones who overcame this bad habit. There are umpteen choices available to help smokers – smoking cessation classes, hypnosis, acupuncture, support groups and books, but personal determination is what is most requited.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), someone in the world dies every six seconds from tobacco use. We all want to be blessed with a long and healthy life – so this killing habit must go down with 2012. Do you have it in you?

2. No more over-speeding

We’re all guilty of this at some time or another. Even when we’re not driving and are relying on a taxi to ferry us along, sometimes it is just a habit to ‘urge’ the drive to ‘go a little faster’ as we have a flight to catch or a meeting to attend or something as crucial.

Leaving for the airport or for that meeting 10 minutes earlier will solve it, without the risk of someone losing their life or limb. “Slowness is safer,” says Dubai Police but over-speeding is one of the main reasons of road accidents on the city’s roads. And, we really don’t have to drive at 150km/hour to risk our lives.

As per Dubai Police, the probability of being involved in an accident leading to death doubles when one drives at a speed in excess of 5 kilometers/hour of the speed limit. Aren’t we all guilty of reckless driving, then?

Estimates show that if it were possible to average 65 km/hour instead of 60 km/hour, that would only cut around two minutes off the commuting time. It would not be easy to average that extra 5 km/hour in rush hour. That two-minute gain can be easily covered by leaving home five minutes earlier or spending less time at the café, picking up your morning cuppa.

Experts suggest that if you are an aggressive driver, listen to soothing music than hard rock and stick to the simple belief that somebody’s waiting for you to reach home safely.

3. Spending more time outdoors

According to a recent study published by a BMC Public Health journal, the UAE ranks as the fifth fattest nation in the world – and there is a reason for that. And that reason is our penchant for killing time shopping, window-shopping, grocery shopping, online shopping… in a nutshell, nothing but shopping.

The two biggest reasons of our ever-increasing bulge is the choice of food we consume, and the habit of not spending time outdoors.

I don’t know how it is in your household but in mine, the quickest way to chase the blues and spend time is to go shopping. The ever-increasing footfall in shopping malls and the new malls cropping up prove that shopping is indeed a national pastime of UAE residents.

“My child had some dark patches on his skin so I took him to the doctor. What I thought was grime was the first sign of juvenile diabetes. I was shocked. We are trying hard to lose weight and I now make sure that he plays for at least two hours in the park,” an Emirates 24|7 reader said as she listed the must-do resolutions for 2013.

“For us, it’s now Safa Park over Sega Republic. We head to the beach on hotter days. It’s healthier, happier and very low budget,” she added.

There are many ‘walk the mall’ programmes in the city but nothing beats a natural environment and just like this reader, most of us need to step out in 2013.

4. Donate blood, save a life

Many New Year’s resolutions focus on breaking bad habits. How about encouraging positive ones instead?

One such good habit is donating blood and you don’t have to look far to do it. The website - UAE Donors -  reveals that there is no dearth of patients who require blood.  The group states that someone needs blood every two seconds and just one pint of your blood can save up to three lives.

A resolution to donate blood in the New Year is a resolution that can last a lifetime and perhaps one of the noblest ones as well. Your donation may help the life of a 3-year old with cancer, a high school student with leukaemia, or a young mother who has unexpected complications after giving birth. There is no substitute for human blood and your one pint can go a long way in 2013.

5. Know thy neighbour

Living a very busy life, most of us are time-crunched when it comes to knowing our neighbours. Discussions on popular forums show that making friends with neighbours does not come naturally to many of us in Dubai

“I live in The Springs and have great neighbours. This is mostly due to a lovely common area with playground/pool for the kids. We meet in the evening and what started as a hello has blossomed into a great friendship. I can ask them for help at an odd hour and leave my kids at their place if I have to rush out alone. The kid-thing opened that door for me and now they are my social life,” said a reader.

There’s no harm in getting to know the people who live nearby. It create a sense of belonging and helps in building a happier neighbourhood for everyone. Research shows that wellbeing is higher amongst people who know their neighbours.

Knock, knock…how about taking some Christmas sweets next door as a precursor to a happier 2013?

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