The Medical Professional’s New Year’s Resolutions

For as long as I can remember, my new year’s resolution was to get straight A’s. Now that I am in dental school, I recognize that I want to aspire to do more than just get good grades. These days, I am perfectly content with passing and getting my degree. And I’m excited to make conscious goals for myself that focus on my life outside of academics. I narrowed it down to 5 things that I personally need to work on to have a more well-rounded, balanced lifestyle as a dental student and future medical professional.

Drink more water. I recently got my blood drawn for routine bloodwork. Because I did not drink any water after waking up that morning, the nurse could not collect any blood from my veins and she tried 3 times. After being unnecessarily stuck with a needle more times than one, I finally recognized that I must drink more water. If I can get myself to finish a bottle of water on my commute to and from school everyday, I would consider that a drastic improvement.

Exercise. I’m pretty sure exercise or “lose weight” is a common new year’s resolution. Even though everyone knows that routine cardio is beneficial, it’s funny how that is the first thing we eliminate from our daily routine as we start to get busy and increasingly stressed out. Exercise makes me feel good every time I do it, and I know that the hardest step is just to start. With daylight savings – leaving in the dark, and coming home in the dark – I immediately assume it’s too late to do anything but eat dinner and go to sleep. I’m going to try to incorporate a workout during my lunch break. A brisk walk in the middle of the day, I’m sure, would be a great way to get more energy for the rest of the day.


Eat more balanced meals. I’m pretty good about eating healthy meals. I devote Sunday’s to meal prep days. I also have a slow cooker now, and have found numerous receipts on Pinterest that I am excited to try soon. If I can throw 1 protein, 1 vegetable, and 1 grain into every crockpot meal, that would go a long way to making my meals more nutritious. I also need to work on limiting myself to 1 chocolate/candy per day.

Keep in touch with friends. I devote my limited free time to sleeping early or napping. It’s rare, but when I have a weekend with no Monday exams, I’ll have plenty in my apartment to clean and errands to run. While I am cleaning, though, I need to become better about catching up with friends. There are 2-3 people that I speak to pretty regularly and a dozen of other friends who just don’t even know I’m in school! This holiday season, I want to be more present with friends.

Have a nightly routine before sleeping. I am most excited about this new goal. I am guilty of either sleeping on my laptop while studying, or scrolling through my phone aimlessly in the dark – both habits I am desperate to avoid. Ideally, I would like to manage my time so that I am winding down the night around 9:30 or 10 pm. I usually have a candle burning at night to help me relax before bed. And a warm cup of tea is soothing addition to my nightly routine. For obvious reasons, I no longer make time for pleasure reading. But, there’s a dozen books I’d love to read. I think a good book will also make me excited to work harder during the day so I can look forward to something fun (that doesn’t involve reviewing notes) before bed.

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Sonal Kumar

Sonal Kumar is passionate about combining science and storytelling. She has vast experiences outside of healthcare including marketing and advertising, print and broadcast journalism, including TV/radio production. Sonal is an alumna of Columbia University. She tweets @sonalkumar2011.