21 Health Goals To Accomplish in 2021
Don’t just set a New Year’s Resolution, make 2021 the healthiest you by making small changes and creating healthy lifestyle habits. Whether you want to lose weight, get more active, or just be healthier, remember that small changes make a big difference!
Here are some healthy changes that you can make to start your year off right and keep it going all year long!
Start the year off by incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet, and avoid/limit processed foods with added sugars and fats. Eating right can not only help you be healthy but also help you feel good for 2021!
Try a new food or recipe
Break outside your normal routine and try something new! Adding variety to your diet is not only exciting but has many other benefits as well! It can improve your nutrition and add more flavors to your food, set a good example for family and friends, and expand your choices! Take the challenge of trying a new food or recipe each month!
Take time each week to plan healthy meals and snacks. Find recipes, use the Choose MyPlate guidelines to help you choose healthy foods, and write down the meals you want to make for each week. Planning ahead can help you feel organized and help you stay on track with healthy eating.
Drink more water
Switch up your beverages from those high calorie, sugary beverages to water! Water quenches thirst, has not calories, and zero sugar. Not a fan of water? Try creating your own flavored waters with real fruits and vegetables, like strawberry lemon, cucumber, or apples and cinnamon. Flavors are endless, and they are better for you!
Sit Less – Move More
Research has shown that extended sitting can lead to many health problems. In fact experts have coined the new term “sitting is the new smoking” because of the related health consequences. In 2021, take a stand – literally! By moving more, you will make a profound impact on your health!
Want to feel better, have more energy, and be stronger? Exercise!!! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise, 5 days per week. The options for exercise are endless! Find activities that you like to do and that 30 minutes will fly by! Like to dance? Try a Zumba class! Hate being inside? Go for a hike outside!
Go for an adventure
Try a new Zumba class, go rock climbing, adventure on a lake with a paddleboard, or sign-up for an obstacle race. Try something new that gets you moving and motivated in the new year!
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night improves memory, boosts creativity, lowers stress, strengthens the immune system, help with weight loss, and even extend your life span! Get those ZZZ’s in tonight to benefit tomorrow!
Take a deep breath
Stress can do a lot of damage to our health – physically, mentally, and emotionally! And while we may not be able to control the stressful event or situation, we can control how our body reacts. Try taking 3-5 deep breaths to help lower your stress levels.
Believe it or not, positive thinking has beneficial effects on your health – increased lifespan, lower rates of depression and distress, better coping skills to stress, and even reduced risk of illness! To reap the rewards, stay positive! Find an optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation, surround yourself with a positive environment, and practice positive self-talk by being kind and encouraging to yourself. For example, instead of saying “I’ve never done this before,” try “it’s an opportunity for me to learn something new.”
Take charge of your health by staying up to date with your preventative care! Follow up with your primary care doctor at least once per year and have all recommended screenings and immunizations.
Take time for yourself
Many of us are so busy running from one place to the next, with no slowing down, leaving us feeling more tired and drained each day. Take some time that you need to slow down, relax, and recharge to enjoy life. Whether it’s a small 10 minute walk or treating yourself to a spa day, make plans with yourself and make it a priority!
Being mindful can help you stay positive and feel less stress. Stay in the moment and give your full attention to what is going on around you. See everything. Hear all the noises. Smell the scents. Ground yourself in that moment. These small mindful moments can make a positive impact each day.
Build your support network
Social support can be an invaluable tool – having family, friends, and peers that you can turn to can also help you cope with difficult situations, improve self-esteem, and strengthen your health. Start building your social network by creating new friendships or improving on existing relationships. Whether you are receiving support or helping another, you will reap many rewards!
Imagine your ideal self
What is the best and healthiest version of yourself? Five years, down the road, what do you want your health to look like? Whether it is reducing your risk for chronic disease, getting off your blood pressure medicine, or being able to walk for 30 minutes, knowing your wellness vision can help you take steps towards that healthier version of you!
Set SMART goals
Set yourself up for success in 2021 by setting SMART goals. SMART goals help you break down the general, long-term goals into smaller, more realistic goals that work towards your overall vision. By having a specific plan that is measurable and realistic, you are more likely to achieve your goals.
Make Time for Mental Health
Our mental health may have taken a toll in 2020, so make mental health a priority in 2021. It can be as simple as taking time for yourself or asking for help.
Focus on Your Financial Health
Many people want to improve their financial situation, and making changes in the beginning of the year can make it easier to stick to. One goal – set a budget and stick to it!
Help someone in need by volunteering or donating. Even with a global pandemic, there are plenty of virtual events that you can do. Research shows that people who volunteer or donate report feeling both physically and mentally healthier.
Laugh Out Loud
They say laughter is the best medicine, and it is! Laughter can help reduce stress and anxiety. Take time to laugh by watching a funny show or movie or listening to a comedy show or podcast. This time, you can actually laugh out loud!
Research has shown that practicing gratitude can improve our physical and mental health, from reducing depression symptoms, improving relationship, and providing a more optimistic and positive outlook to improved sleep and reduced inflammation in the body. The benefits are endless. Take time to practice gratitude by writing down three things that you are grateful for each day.
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