01/05/2018 10:44 EST | Updated 01/05/2018 10:44 EST

Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolution Can Cut The Risk Of Cancer, Study Says

So don't give up just yet.

It's always a challenge to follow through on New Year's resolutions, especially if you're trying to make a big change to your lifestyle. But a new study has found that those who make goals to be healthier in the new year and stick to them can actually reduce their risk of cancer by a third!

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Researchers led by Prof. Peter Elwood, of U.K.'s Cardiff University, looked at more than 500,000 people to determine how healthy behaviours affect the risk of cancer development over several years. They found that getting regular exercise, eating healthy, not smoking, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight all significantly reduced cancer risk.

Specifically, practicing these behaviours individually could reduce cancer risk by eight per cent. But when practiced together, they could reduce cancer risk by 33 per cent and cut the odds of having a cancer-related death.

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"The take-home message is that healthy behaviours can have a truly tangible benefit," said study lead Elwood, whose findings were published in the journal Ecancermedicalscience.

"A healthy lifestyle has many benefits additional to cancer reduction. It costs nothing, has no undesirable side effects — and is better than any pill."

Medical News Today noted that healthy lifestyle changes were the top New Year's resolutions this year, according to a poll conducted by YouGov. In the December poll, eating healthier and getting more exercise were the top two resolutions for 2018. Getting more sleep and cutting back on smoking and drinking alcohol also made the top 10 list.

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While it's common knowledge that making healthy lifestyle changes can improve your overall health, it can be hard to stay motivated and stick to your goals.

That's why Gretchen Hydo, a Los Angeles-based professional certified life coach, advises that people who want to quit unhealthy habits, such as smoking or eating junk food, should continuously remind themselves why they want to make this change.

In a previous interview with HuffPost Canada, Hydo explained: "Most people know what they 'should' do. But if there isn't a meaningful reason to change the behaviour, it's likely the attempt towards the goal will fall short."

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