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New Year’s Resolutions, Avoiding Known Problems, & Vaping Revisited

Episode 9:   Show Notes

In today’s episode we will be discussing New Year’s resolutions, the benefits of avoiding known problems, and we are going to revisit the topic of vaping that we discussed earlier this year in episodes 1 & 2.

Part 1:  New Year’s Resolutions

Here we are on December 31, 2016 and New Year’s resolutions are on everyone’s minds.  Some people avoid them at all costs, figuring they are nothing more than a setup for failure.  Other people crave the opportunity for a clean slate, and the New Year represents the opportunity to wipe the slate and start anew.  So the first question that comes to my mind is “Are New Year’s Resolutions worthwhile?  Should we bother with them?”

From my perspective the answer is yes, they are worthwhile.  They provide guidance and help us pinpoint where we want to end up one year later.  Look at it like traveling.  If you want to go on a vacation you need to do some planning.  Here’s a list of 10 things you may need to do in preparation.

Top Vacation Planning Tips

  1. Choose a location.
  2. Pick a date.
  3. Request the time off from work.
  4. Book a hotel/motel room or find a place to stay.
  5. Might need to get plane tickets or reserve a spot on a cruise ship.
  6. May need to save some money to pay for the trip.
  7. If you’re leaving behind children, pets, elderly parents you may need to find caregivers.
  8. Arrange someone to take care of things at home.  Mail, water your plants, watch your home etc.
  9. If you don’t want to miss anything, you may need to plan excursions.
  10. Buy & pack the right kind of clothes & accessories.

So, we have to do all that and maybe even more just to go on a relaxing vacation.  How do you think you’re going to achieve a challenging goal?  You need to have a plan.  And the beginning of the year is a great time to get started.  But it’s not the only time you can start, you can start anytime.  You can at the first of any month, any Monday morning, any tomorrow morning, or the beginning of any next hour.  There are no limitations to when we can start or should start.  There are no limitations to when we can or should re-start.  So if you’re not listening to this before the New Year – no worries, no problems.  Plan your own start or time.

Second Question

The next question to consider is what should we resolve to do?  There are no right or wrong answers to this question.  But I do have some guidelines to get you started. Many of these topics are covered in my first 4 YouTube videos, if you haven’t checked them out yet, I invite you to take a look.  The link will be included in the Show Notes too.  Dr. Terri Wenner’s YouTube Channel.

Resolution Guidelines

  1. Choose a reasonable amount of goals.  I recommend limiting it to 3.  If you meet all 3 goals early in the year, you can always start some new ones. Spreading yourself too thin is a setup for failure.
  2. Choose reasonable goals.  If you resolve to become president in 2017 – that’s totally unrealistic.  But, if you want to learn more about or become more involved in politics you could do that.
  3.  Make them measurable. Saying you want to lose weight sounds great.  But how will you know if you succeeded?  Is one ounce of weight loss good enough?  How about 1 pound?  Probably not.  Look at your ideal weight, decide what is reasonable for one year & settle on a number.
  4. Right motivation. You will only be successful if your motivation is from within.  Sometimes it may start outwardly but it has to become internal to work.  If your spouse or significant other tells you to lose weight, but you can’t say no to your daily dose of sweet treats, you’re likely to fail.  But you’ve finally had enough of having to buy new, bigger clothes every year and you hate what you see in the mirror and the reward is more important than the pain of change – then you’re ready to go!
  5. Have a Plan B. No matter how hard we try, there will always be something that gets in the way of our plans.  We plan to bike ride and the bike breaks and is in the shop for 2 weeks.  You can’t skip exercise for two weeks, you need to have a backup plan.
  6. Resolve to NOT QUIT.  This final tip I consider the most important.  If you don’t do this, your resolutions will be tossed aside in a number of weeks or even days.  If you’ve resolved to exercise 5 days a week and you get the flu and can’t get out of bed for a week, you don’t give up.  You’re not off the hook.  You rest, heal, and then get back on track.  Resolutions that are worthwhile need to withstand the test of time.  You can do it.  I know you can do it!  Plan to succeed.

Personal Examples from 2015

I had made 5 New Year’s resolutions for the start of 2016.  One I am proud to say that I completed with flying colors.  I defended my dissertation and graduated with my doctoral degree.  WooHoo!  Thank God that one is complete!

One item on the list I actually decided to remove from my goal list.  I wanted to buy a new, sportier car.  Well, my financial situation changed.  My 2006 Toyota Corolla still runs very well.  And honestly it would be an unnecessary expense.  It’s not that I don’t still want a new sportier car, it just wasn’t worth keeping on my goal list.

So that leaves me 3 unmet goals from 2016.  Looking  back, trying to tackle 5 challenging things in one year was a bit too much.  The dissertation drained much of my time, money & energy.  But those other 3 goals were still worthwhile.  I made some progress on 2 of them.  But one I actually lost ground on.

So for 2017 – I am going to leave the 3 items that were on the list that I did not complete and make a more diligent attempt at meeting them.  I hope you’ll share some of your goals with me and the listeners of this podcast.  Feel free to respond in the comment section after the Show Notes!

Dr. Terri’s Heath Tip & Challenge of the Week

Today’s health tip is about avoiding known problem areas.

On the one hand, this tip may sound so simple, it’s barely worth calling it a tip.  But, on the other hand, most of us never take the time to do it.

I’m talking about avoiding known problem areas.  Things like not walking down the ice cream aisle if you want to avoid buying your favorite flavor on sale.  Avoiding being alone with someone you always fight with when others aren’t around.  Avoiding making plans with someone who always cancels at the last-minute and causes you to feel hurt and upset.

If you’re having trouble thinking about an area of your life that you know is a problem, it may help to ask yourself a few questions and see if something comes to mind.  We’ll look at several areas of life to get you thinking.

  1. Physically – Is there a certain food that tempts you so badly that you find yourself unable to resist?  I know my biggest problems are with sweets & carbs.
  2. Emotionally– Is there someone who always makes negative comments about you when you’re together?  It could be anyone relative, friend, coworker etc.
  3. Spiritually – Do you have a friend that always rolls their eyes when you say you need to pray about something?
  4. Intellectually – Are you criticized for wanting to learn and grow?  For choosing reading over a night out on the town?  Or choosing to enroll in a cooking class instead of buying another new outfit?
  5. Relationally – Is there someone in your life that doesn’t make time for you?  Someone who doesn’t see your value and couldn’t care less about hurting your feelings?

If thinking about any of these areas stuck a chord with you, that is a known problem area.  Something that happens, is predictable, and often elicits a poor response from you.  You end up eating too many chocolate chip cookies, or feel inadequate.  You may feel stupid for choosing to pray before making serious decisions, or for the healthy choices you make.

The reality is you can stop the bleeding in many of these areas.  For the first time ever, I chose not to make Christmas cookies this year.  Because I can’t stop eating them if they’re in my house.  Why would I tell someone who I am going to pray if they think it is a waste of time.  You can easily rephrase things to reduce negative outcomes.  Saying you need some time to consider something is still true.  They don’t need to know that your consideration involves prayer.  Why pour salt on wounds and just keep stirring up trouble.  Avoid the ice cream aisle, avoid unnecessary pain, and start living a more satisfied life today.

Challenge of the Week

So that brings us to the challenge of the week.  I challenge each of you to identify one area that continues to cause you trouble that you want to change.  Then think of one way you can start to avoid the issue.  And if you’re willing, share it with me, a close friend or even post it in the comment section on the website.

Part 2: Vaping Revisited

About one week ago I discovered that I was not receiving any of the messages sent through the contact section on my website.  About 4 months have gone by and I was not aware that these messages were sitting in a folder inside my website account, but not actually being delivered to me.  Naturally, I was rather bummed about that.  But, it wasn’t intentional and since I lack the power to time travel into the past to fix that, I just needed to move forward. My deepest apologies to anyone who wrote to me and didn’t receive a prompt response.

One listener (who I will refer to as Mr. Butterscotch) had left me 3 messages.  Mr. Butterscotch is a friend of my husband’s whom I had mentioned in my first podcast as someone who has chosen to take up vaping as a replacement for cigarettes. His preferred vape juice flavor is Butterscotch.

Mr. Butterscotch has done extensive research on the topic of vaping and had provided me with several links with additional research articles on the subject.  I’m going to include those links in the resource section in the show notes for this episode.  So, if you would like to review some additional resources, these are some excellent additions to things I mentioned before.

The one I would like to mention specifically is the Cochrane Review from 2016.  If a Cochrane Review is new to you – it is a resource that is internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care resources. The reason is it such a high standard is that is evaluates and compares all research studies done that answer one central research question and present the combined results.  So instead of looking at just one research study, they look at all of them.

They update them periodically as new research emerges that should be included.  The first Cochrane review on E-cigarettes for smoking cessation was published in 2014.  Only 2 years later it was updated in 2016 and included an additional 11 articles.

This topic is one that is continuing to develop and grow in research.  The current review makes several conclusion statements based on the research.

  1. E-cigarettes do help smokers quit.
  2. The research is not strong enough at this time.  More research is needed.
  3. None of the studies reported serious adverse effects related to E-Cigarette use.
  4. The most commonly reported side effects were irritation to the throat and mouth.
  5. Long-term safety of E-Cigarette use is unknown.
  6. There are currently at least 15 randomized control trials (considered very good research) which are likely to be eligible for the next review.

I want to thank Mr. Butterscotch for providing these updates resources. I really enjoyed reviewing them.  And I certainly plan to revisit this topic from time to time to see what the latest research has been showing us.


Association between electronic cigarette use and changes in quit attempts, success of quit attempts, use of smoking cessation pharmacotherapy, and use of stop smoking services in England: Time series analysis of population trends. BMJ. (2016).

Cochrane Review. What is a Cochrane Review.

Dr. Terri Wenner’s YouTube Channel.

E-cigarettes:  An evidence update. Commissioned by Public Health England (2015).

E-cigarettes help smokers quit, review finds. NBC News:  Health. (2016).

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.  Cochrane Review. (2016).

Nicotine without smoke:  Tobacco harm reduction. Royal College of Physicians. (2016).

Reflection Questions:

  1. What are your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions?
  2. Do you have a plan to avoid one known problem?
  3. What are your personal experiences with vaping?

Ways to Connect with Me:

Subscribe, rate, and review “Breaking Thru Health Barriers with Dr. Terri Wenner” in iTunes or your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. Always feel free to drop use the contact form on my website to send me your comments and questions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Health Mentoring Moments: Episode 4: New Year’s Resolutions

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