New Year’s Resolution: Don’t worry, be happy

A new year invites endless possibilities and aspirations to do more or better than we did last year. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to resist the list of things I (or others!) should do, inspired by my holiday readings. I’ve also noticed the lively twittering and buzzing on social media on this year’s trends and the latest reported findings about losing weight, drinking less, exercising more and the secrets to that ever elusive fountain of everlasting youth, happiness and all things good in life!

In fact, if I followed the advice in news articles over the past week, I’d be on my bike in lycra to slow ageing, switching off the snooze button on my alarm to get my natural sleeping rhythm happening, eating wholemeal porridge every morning to extend my life, among other sensible and not so sensible ideas. The top five fitness trends would have me shaking like Beyoncé, doing ballet barre exercises, using telemetry to track my fitness (hold the phone… just checking my FitBit for how many calories I’ve spent typing this blog), yoga and high intensity training using my own body weight.

Technology trends on show in Las Vegas (Consumer Electronics Show 2015) would see smart plant pots that water plants themselves, electronic roller devices that help you walk faster (as opposed to just…. walking faster?), more gadgets to monitor your sleep, ultra-high definition television (yeah!), and all the gadgets in your household connected i.e. television, car, watch, fridge, phone, iPad/laptop. The apps for this year will help us tell our stories with Storehouse using one-off photos combined with videos and words (watch out Instagram). If you don’t have any friends to message, message Ethan an app designed to ….. be messaged to. And if you’re sick of your kids or friends being rude and talking to their phone and not your face, there’s an app for that too…. Moment which tracks how much you use your phone and can help you set daily limits on-screen time.

I think, however, Gwyneth Paltrow can keep her detox diet of pureed garden weeds, “infrared sauna” and colonic irrigation. Despite Greg Simpson’s (GM, Facilities) encouragement lycra is not my fashion of choice. Secretly, I’m holding out for the ‘imaginary pill’ that fools your body into thinking you’ve had a substantial meal and the gadget that makes your kids clean their rooms without being asked and actually put away the dishes – now that’s true innovation! Also, I find the power off button works just as well when I want to speak to my family and friends face to face.

There are few essential ingredients to having a great year this year that don’t require an app, a gadget or futurists to tell us. They are also pretty consistent over time. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Spend real-time with family and friends – the people you care about and who care about you. Get rid of what causes stress in life. Sleep well. And, as aptly put by philosopher (of sorts!) Bobby McFerrin – don’t worry, be happy. Enjoy the rest of summer.

Happy New Year!

P.S. I must make a special ‘shout out’ to my family and friends in Wales facing gale force winds (70mph) and torrential rain at this time … we’re thinking of you and we wish you were here!



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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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