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New Year’s Resolutions — The ThirdLove Way

It’s that time again and you’re tempted to try to revamp your entire life—new diet, new exercise plan, new relationship, new job *sighs*. Instead, focus on some practical and—why not?—bra-related things you can do to make 2017 your “breast” year yet!

Don’t miss your mammogram or breast self-exam.

Why get a mammogram? According to the American Cancer Society, screening for cancer before there are symptoms improves the chances that it can be caught early and treated successfully. Women aged 40 to 44 with average risk should get an annual screening mammogram. However, if you’re in a group with higher risk factors (such as a family history of the disease), you might consider starting earlier. [Those aged 45 to 54 should get an annual mammogram. Those 55 and over can continue with annual screenings or go to every two years.]

“The best way to remember to do things is to make them a habit,” according to Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers. “Put your breast exams and mammograms on autopilot by committing to do them on a regular schedule,” she says. Options include picking a meaningful month to get mammograms done (think: your birthday month or that of a friend or family member who’s dealt with breast cancer). Or, if you’re a mom, or to remember yours, do it in May—Mother’s Day.

As for that breast self-exam, The National Breast Cancer Foundation suggests doing it monthly. Zaslow’s trick: Pick the same date each month. “If it’s always the last day of the month, you won’t wonder if you’ve already done it,” she says. You can also make a recurring appointment reminder on your phone. She adds, “And if you’re tempted to let these check-ups slide, talk to a friend or relative who’s a survivor—we all know someone—and she will motivate you to make the effort to take care of yourself.”

Learn how to wash, delicately.

Hand-washing is the best way to clean your bras, according to Jolie Kerr, “Ask a Clean Person” columnist and author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha. You may be tempted to throw lingerie in the washing machine, but resist. Instead, fill a sink or wash basin with warm water and a mild detergent (like that in our Lingerie Care Kit) and swoosh the bras around. Let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes and press on each bra to help release dirt and oil. Next, empty and refill the basin with clean water and re-submerge your delicates, swooshing them around again. Once there’s no sign of suds, remove bras and gently squeeze out excess water. They should be air-dried flat on a towel or, if hung, not by the straps (which stretches them). Now you’re ready for fresh, clean start.

Reuse and recycle…your old bras.

If you have a drawer full of ill-fitting or worn out bras that you no longer wear (probably because you finally got the right fit thanks to the our Fit Finder), don’t just throw them away.

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the EPA estimates that the average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and textiles every year and this waste occupies nearly five percent of all landfills. Instead, look for organizations that pass along used bras to those in need. Bras for a Cause is a nonprofit that donates bras, swimsuits, and cancer-survivor items (mastectomy bras, prosthetic bra inserts, wigs) to shelters, breast cancer survivor support groups, and charities around the world. Doing good is a great way to begin the year.

“We must…we must…we must increase our bust!”

Fitness has come a long way since our moms giggled over that chant at sleepovers or summer camp. However, turns out there are exercises for your chest muscles that can help make breasts look firmer. “The best chest exercise is the push-up,” according to NikkiFitness, a health coach and trainer who is the author of The Slimnastics Workout. “There’s a bonus: It also tones the rest of the arms like crazy and firms the abs, because in between every push-up is a plank.” Here’s her blog post on how to do push-ups right. So add this lady-pecs move to your workout and have a perky New Year!

Get a “power bra.”

Many women have a lucky bra (maybe not to this extent), but it’s the one that makes you feel downright Wonder Woman indomitable. When you wear it, the job interview goes well or the Power Point presentation is a swoosh. Wear it on a date and that swipe right turns out to be so, so right. Pick out a bra that makes you feel that good (and a pair of matching/coordinating undies). Then, when the pressure is on in 2017, put them on and strike that power pose.