We’re nearing the end of 2021. You know what that means right? New Year’s resolutions! The question is, “what can we do to make not only realistic goals for the new year, but sustainable ones that we can continue to build on?” You see it every year. The gyms in January are packed beyond belief and then people slowly start to dwindle away by February and March. It’s because they are creating these routines that they cannot keep up with for months, let alone years.

Setting realistic goals is the key to combat this, but it doesn’t stop there. You need to have short term AND long term goals to work towards. There need to be small victories along the way to your ultimate goal, whatever that may be. These goals should be as detailed as possible as well, so take some time out of your day to sit down and really think about them. The more you plan things out in the beginning, the less thinking you’ll need to do later on.

Here are a few topics we all should work on in the new year to better ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physical Activity

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults, “For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity.” It is very easy for someone who never works out to see the above statement and feel overwhelmed. Maybe they don’t think 150-300 minutes is possible. Instead of looking at a big number like 300 minutes, start small with one or two workouts in the week. Find the days and times that work best for you and literally block those times out on your schedule. As you get accustomed to 1-2 workouts, add another. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting 300 minutes and more!

Nutrition

I never liked the word “diet” because it implies something that is temporary. All these fad yo-yo diets out there tend to be so extreme to the point that they are not sustainable long term. You see big results right away, but once you stop, you gain the weight right back. Instead, I like having the mind set of making healthy decisions. Again, start small and gradually implement more as you go. For example, if you drink soda, maybe your first small change is to decrease the amount you drink. Then when you’re ready, change something else…and then something else…and something else. Before you know it, you’ve gave yourself the time you need to acclimate to a newer, healthier LIFESTYLE.

Sleep

It is recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep. It is not only duration that is important, but QUALITY of sleep as well. To help improve your quality of sleep, there are a number of things you can do. Be consistent by going to bed at the same time at night and waking up at the same time in the morning. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. This means getting away from electronic devices prior to bedtime. Lastly avoid caffeine, alcohol, and big meals prior to sleeping. Proper rest is essential so that you can operate at your best throughout the day.

Mental Health

Physical health is just one piece of the puzzle. You NEED to take care of your mind as well. Mental health consists of your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is important for helping you cope with the daily stressors of life, maintaining healthy relationships with friends/family, finding purpose in your career, and so much more. Your mental health is going to have a direct correlation with the other three categories above, so it is vital to focus on it. Maybe it’s grabbing a cup of coffee once a week with a friend. Maybe it’s taking 10 minutes in the morning to practice gratitude. Maybe it’s a yoga class at the end of a long day. The trick is to find out what works best for YOU.

Lastly, find someone to hold you accountable. If your goal is to go to the gym more, find a buddy to work out with or hire a personal trainer. If you’re struggling with how to go about improving your nutrition, go see a nutritionist and get a plan tailored to YOU. We all need someone or something to hold us accountable. Off days are going to happen and that is okay! BUT, on those off days when you need a little nudge in the right direction, it helps to have a built in system to keep you accountable and on the right path.

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. Let’s go out and crush our goals!