How to (Really) Achieve Those Health & Wellness Goals in the New Year
The beginning of the new year is a great time to make a fresh start, and for many Americans, that means writing a new chapter in the health and wellness department. But a staggering 80% of the resolutions set at midnight on the last day of the year fizzle out by the second week of February. Here are a few ways to make sure that you’ll be committed to your healthy pursuits— and will make them a permanent part of your life.
1. Make a list of what areas need improvement. Simply vowing to be healthier in 2019 probably won’t cut it—it’s best to be specific about the health and wellness goals you’d like to set for yourself. There are many important components of a healthy lifestyle— from adding more vegetables to your plate and exercising frequently to sleeping better and drinking more water—but it can be overwhelming to think about tackling all of them at once. By making a list of your personal health goals, you can get a better sense of your biggest priorities—and focus your attention in a ranking order.
2. You don’t have to go it alone. It’s OK to get some help along the way—from healthcare professionals and loved ones. Nutritionists, physical therapists and other healthcare practitioners have the background and training to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. For example, if you aim to be more physically active, a physical therapist can help you set realistic goals and will prescribe a home exercise program to help you safely build strength and endurance. And your loved ones can pitch in by providing moral support and by helping to create and maintain an environment that helps you achieve your goals.
3. Stay engaged and follow through on your goals. No one ever said that change is easy. In fact, even the smallest of adjustments—like, going to bed half an hour earlier every night or walking for 15 minutes every day—take discipline and sometimes sacrifice. By planning in advance and knowing what obstacles you could face, you can make sure that your goals are still met. For example, is there rain in the forecast tomorrow? Plan to walk with a friend at an indoor mall instead of choosing to sit on the couch and wait for better weather.
If you find that you’ve lost your motivation or fallen off track, experts say that you don’t need to wait until next year to resolve to be healthier! A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that Mondays are the best day of the week to celebrate a new beginning—and because they come every week, there are 52 chances a year to press the reset button. So, don’t get discouraged by the inevitable minor setback—instead, dust yourself off and get back at it.