Have you created a health related New Year’s resolution or goal before? How did it turn out? If you’re like most people, you probably ended up not reaching your goal. While having goals is good and can be needed in our professional and financial lives, when it comes to setting resolutions around changing our health, it can bring along with it a lot of shame and pain.
Instead of creating a big goal or resolution related to your physical or mental health, think about the small ways you can make better choices in your daily routine. For example, a typical resolution I hear from clients is, “I want to get healthier and lose 10 pounds in 3 months.” But - what does “healthier” mean to you - what does it look like? What happens after 3 months? What happens after losing 10 pounds?
Often people don’t have answers to these questions - and that’s okay. Our society puts a lot of emphasis on outcome goals rather than focusing on the process and lifestyle changes in order for goals to become reality.
So this year, instead of thinking about a big goal or resolution, think about how you can create small changes in your everyday life that will improve your health overall. Thinking about the process instead of the outcome can create more sustainable changes that you will actually enjoy. Here are a few small ways you can improve your health this upcoming year:
Add in More Fruits/ Vegetables
This is usually people’s least favorite tip - and I get it. Often it takes work to make vegetables taste good, but it is worth it for the vitamins, fiber and ability to help keep you fuller for longer. Even just adding in carrots, cucumbers or an apple to your usual snack is a great step forward.
Make Time For Movement
While structured exercise is great for some people, others prefer a more fluid approach. This can look like many different things. For some, it is making time for 2-3 walks throughout the day that last 10-20 minutes. For others, they like to do short, HIIT inspired workouts that take less than 30 minutes. So if you know you can’t fit an hour long gym session into your life - that’s okay! Planning for short stints of movement throughout the day is a great way to improve both your physical and mental health.
I know what you’re thinking, “yeah, but how?” Honestly, everyone is different so you may have to try some different techniques to find what works for you. What is vital to your overall stress management though is getting enough sleep, eating a well balanced diet and having a support system of people you trust.
Prioritizing these three things in your daily life can help you improve your overall health. Start with one and see if you can note each day how the small changes you are making and how they feel. Once you’re comfortable, focus on the next one. While you might not see quick, dramatic changes, these “little things” will add up to creating a healthier and happier life.