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Jan 9, 2019 · A suggestion for 2019 health and wellness goals: start small

Every January, millions of Americans make resolutions or set goals they are unlikely to keep or accomplish.

Dr. Anuradha Seshadri

They vow to lose weight, eat healthier or start exercising, only to see those resolutions fall by their waistline. Or they may resolve to stop smoking, get more sleep or be better organized, but fail miserably with those lofty aspirations.

About 40 percent of all Americans make resolutions or set goals in January, according to estimates. Of those, less than 10 percent will actually achieve them. The reasons may lie with the goals themselves.

“The key to keeping resolutions is to set reasonable ones to begin with,” says Dr. Anuradha Seshadri, a board-certified internal medicine and pediatric specialist with UCLA Health’s Century City medical practice. “I always advise my patients to start small.”

Dr. Seshadri says that people who vow to make sudden, drastic changes – stop smoking cold turkey or to exercise every day after being sedentary for a while – are likely going to fail. By contrast, she says, those who strive to make small changes – smoke one less cigarette, drink one more glass of water per day or start walking 15 minutes per week – are better positioned for long-term success.

Dr. Seshadri encourages her patients to aim for incremental improvement with their goals. “Set goals or resolutions with realistic time periods for small improvements,” she explains. “There’s always something we can do to improve ourselves, but the focus should be small and steady.”

She offers the following tips for goal-setting:

  • Start small.
  • Make sure they are realistic and achievable.
  • Aim for incremental improvement.
  • Focus on the process.
  • Use wearable technology to track steps, sleep and overall activity, if appropriate.
  • Use the “buddy system.”

Those who work on their resolutions or goals with someone else are far more likely to achieve them, Dr. Seshadri says. But don’t forget to cut yourself some slack.

“If you slip up, don’t quit,” she adds. “Regroup and resume pursuing your goal.”


Jul 26, 2018 · Riding one of those motorized scooters without a helmet is a bird-brained idea


Thinking about using one of those ubiquitous motorized scooters to zip around town in Santa Monica, Westwood or another area?

Before you hop aboard, you should take precautions and learn the rules of the road to prevent potentially serious injuries, says the lead emergency physician at UCLA Health’s Santa Monica campus.

Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the Nethercutt Emergency Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, has seen firsthand the harmful and painful effects from these devices, including head injuries, broken bones, lacerations and abrasions.

Legislation sponsored by Bird, the Santa Monica-based company behind the scooter-sharing service, that would eliminate the helmet requirement for adult riders is not a good idea, Ghurabi says. The scooters can travel at speeds up to 15 miles per hour, Ghurabi says, and helmet-less riders have no head protection if they are struck by a vehicle or hit a bump and get tossed from the scooter.

“Every day I see young people, sometimes two to a scooter, riding through Santa Monica with no helmet – and no fear,” he says. “These people think they are invincible. But they are putting themselves in harm’s way, and endangering others when they ride or leave their scooters on public sidewalks.”

If you must use the scooters, he suggests following the law – and some common-sense safety advice – to minimize your risk of serious injury:

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Learn how to control the scooter before you start zipping around.
  • Never ride two to a scooter. You’re increasing the risk of someone getting hurt.
  • Don’t ride on sidewalks, which may be illegal anyway in your city.
  • Be responsible. Don’t leave scooters in the middle of sidewalks or walkways where they can be a hazard.

Ghurabi likens the current “scooter mania” to the rollerblading craze of the ‘80s, which brought an influx of patients into his and other emergency rooms.

“I used to joke that rollerblading helped put a couple of my kids through college,” he says. “Now, these scooters might do the same for my grandchildren.”