It’s January, the best month of the year for the fitness industry. All across the country gyms are being flooded with thousands of new members, each one desperate to work off their holiday weight and obligated to half-heartedly work towards their new year’s resolution: a repeat goal of losing 50 pounds that lasted until the middle of January last year but has much more potential to be achieved this year. Although we’re all about trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and we support anyone willing to get out there and work towards it on whatever scale is appropriate for them, we’ve never been able to understand the intense pressure people feel at this time of the year to focus so much on their weight. Getting skinny isn’t necessarily synonymous with getting healthy, and as an organization that centers largely around medical health, we’d much rather see people using their new year’s resolutions to take their health into their own hands.

Instead of evaluating how much your scale reads in the morning, we’re urging patients to take this time of the year to re-evaluate the state of their medical life and determine what steps they may be able to take to make the upcoming year a better one for them in regards to health.

For the remainder of January, we’re going to be hitting on a few of the key things to think about when trying to get your health and medical life in order for the new year. To kick everything off, we’ll start with what we believe is one of the most important foundational questions that everyone should ask themselves.

Do you have health insurance?

On the off-chance that 2015 has a few more downs than ups when it comes to your family’s health, it’s important to have thought about your health insurance. Do you need it? Do you have it? If you do have it, what are the specifics? Does your health insurance work for the needs of your family, or would you be better served with a different plan? If you don’t have it and you think you might need it, how can you go about getting it? If you don’t need it and you don’t want it, how can you make sure that you’re minimizing the amount you pay out-of-pocket for any medical procedures you might need?

It’s important to understand your health insurance situation, so we really encourage our patients to understand the type of plan that they have and whether or not it’s meeting their needs. It’s not a bad idea to shop around and compare your options, in fact—we encourage that! Find what works for you and let it work.

If you’re not insured, make sure to utilize whatever resources you have when it comes to minimizing your medical bills. There are a lot of great websites out there that will help you find the lowest prices for any medical procedures you might need (Save On Medical is one that we’ve had great experiences with), so save yourself some money and take advantage of them.

Whether you’re insured or not, understanding your plan (or lack thereof) is the first step to getting your health and medical life in order. It’s the foundation for how you deal with any medical surprises 2015 has in store for your family, both good and bad.