Steps to improve your health in 2015

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- “So the one that first comes to mind is if someone smokes, to stop smoking. Of course, you know, appropriate diet and exercise also fall into the mix,” said Dr. David Boyd with Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Boyd wasn't just talking about popular New Year's resolutions. He was talking about the three most powerful disease-fighters: stop smoking, or don't start, eat a healthier diet and exercise daily.

“When you consider that the majority of Americans are overweight, cardiovascular disease, cancer of many different varieties, it all correlates into how we treat our body,” Boyd said.

Yet, while many people start off with good intentions for taking control of their health, they actually sabotage themselves right from the start.

“They make a bunch of changes at once and instead end up getting frustrated, and those changes don't last for very long," Boyd said.

His advice is to take it slow.

“Don't make a long laundry list of all the things you want to change for your health. Start with one; maybe put that most important one at the top of the list,” Boyd said. “Changing habits is particularly hard. You know the old adage is it takes two to three weeks of replacing a bad habit with a good one to really start to see that change occur.”

For example, if losing weight is most important to you, Boyd suggests, “Maybe something as simple as each day you promise yourself that you are going to go for a 20-minute walk and eat a salad.”

He also says try to make it fun.

”If that means playing basketball instead of running on a treadmill in the gym, fine. The point is that you are getting out and doing something active," he said.

And Boyd says the final piece of the puzzle is to see your doctor on an annual basis.

”For adults 25 and older, having that annual conversation with one's physician to make sure that appropriate blood tests are conducted each year," he said.

They are all small steps, but added together, they really can make for a healthier, happier new year.

“The better you treat your body, the healthier you are and the better you are going to feel," he said.

Making some healthy changes can also help out your wallet. Remember, you will be spending less on doctor’s visits, and many insurance plans have discounts for a healthy lifestyle.