When it comes to our health, setting goals is a great way to motivate us to stay on track. But the problem is that sometimes our goals are too ambitious and hard to maintain!
I’m thinking back to 2014 when I decided to go on a water diet. Yeah, that didn’t last long.
As a result, when our goals are too out there, or when we simply don’t know how to set goals, we give up and return to our old habits.
If 2020 — the most dramatic of years — has sidetracked your health goals somewhat, join me as I take a look at achievable health goals you can put into action for the rest of this year.
🛌 Settle on a sleeping pattern
Here are some tips for settling on a better sleeping routine:
- Avoid the likes of alcohol and caffeine as much as you can (they can interfere with your sleep)
- Establish a pre-sleep routine (this could involve — for example — a warm bath that helps you relax)
- Go to bed when you feel tired
- Switch off your laptop and phone and anything else that transmits excessive light at least an hour before bed
🥦 Go greener
If you want to get healthier, you have to go greener.
Greens kick ass. The more greens you get into your diet, the lesser your risk of mental decline, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and obesity will be.
I wrote an article all about how to go greener (because I know how hard it can be to get started on a green diet!), but it’s also worth reinforcing that you should aim to eat some greens at least once a day. The best greens include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, and broccoli.
🦴 Cut down on sugar
Argh, sugar! We love it, we hate it. We know it’s absolutely terrible for us, but it seems to be everywhere!
Many of us grew up with sugar in our diet. Because old habits die hard, it can be really hard to kick sugar from your weekly meals. But sugar is really bad for us because it’s got so many calories (in fact, it’s got way too many calories for us to handle, which is why people who are “addicted” to sugar put on weight). Sugar can also rot your teeth.
Here are some tips to help you cut down on sugar:
- Cut out soda and other sugary drinks
- Look out for hidden sugar in condiments and sauces
- Snack smarter: you can still snack but go with dried fruit, berries, nuts, low-sugar protein bars and the like instead
- Get rid of the table sugar, molasses, honey, and syrup that are in your cupboards
- Avoid processed meals
🏃 Walk whenever you can
I’m the kind of person who ditched my car a long time ago because I realized that I could get a lot more out of walking.
And who doesn’t love an evening stroll?
Walking boosts your heart while reducing your risk of heart disease, and it can also strengthen your bones and balance.
So why not walk when you can? That means walking to the grocery story, taking the stairs more often, and running errands for other people. Maybe you could even get yourself a dog, which will force you to walk more. Plus, dogs are cute.
🧘 Stretch for at least 10 minutes each day
A ten-minute stretch each day works wonders for your health. It improves your flexibility (great for bone health), prevents injury, and it releases tension and calms your mind. You don’t have to treaty it as a warm-up exercise either. Instead, you can do it whenever suits you. You could even make it a part of your pre-sleep routine.
🧠 Look after your mental health
Your mental well-being is so important to your overall health. When you feel better in your mind, you’ll be more motivated to achieve your physical health goals.
Here are some tips:
- Switch off your apps. Studies have shown that too much exposure to social media and the like can make us depressed. This doesn’t mean quitting social media for good, but you could reduce the amount of time you spend there by — for example — listening to motivational podcasts instead
- Stop watching the news so much. Let’s face it, the news is just horribly depressing. How about you get into art and crafts or something else that’s beneficial for your mind instead?
- Focus on you. Learn the power of saying “no” to people
- Feed your brain (keep learning and eat well)
🔮 Organize your living space to be more sustainable
A cluttered house leads to a cluttered mind — and, as we know, when we’re not right mentally, we’re very rarely right physically.
- Clear out your house. Eliminate stuff you don’t need, but separate them into boxes for repurposing, donations, and recycling
- Audit your lifestyle. Learn more about how to audit your lifestyle here and improve your buying habits so that you spend less and live more sustainably
- Invest in a low-waste, reusable alternatives to everyday objects
- Invest in items that serve numerous purposes
- Plan your meals ahead, as this can help you save time and money while decreasing stress. It can also help you learn more about nutrition
📈 Set goals properly
Now that you know more about the kind of goals you should be setting for 2020, let’s end by taking a look at how to set these goals.
Understand your why
Why do you want to get healthier? Is it because you want to be more active and do more things? Or maybe you want to slow down the aging process? Maybe you just want to look and feel better? Whatever it is, understanding your reason for doing this will help you keep going whenever you feel like quitting.
Set targets/be specific
Saying “I want to get healthier” or “I want to go to bed earlier” just doesn’t cut it because it’s not specific enough. It’s a much better idea to say something like “I want to lose X weight by December.” You need to be specific about everything.
Here are some more examples:
- I want to go for 3 thirty-minute walks per week
- I want to add greens to at least one meal each day
- I want to go to bed by 11 PM each night
Set smaller goals that tie into bigger goals
A huge goal like “I want to complete in the 2021 summer marathon” can be pretty damn daunting! This is why it’s a good idea to set smaller goals that tie into bigger goals.
I want to run a half-marathon by the autumn and a full marathon by 2021. But to do that, I want to go for a one hour run 4 days a week.
As you can see, these are all achievable health goals for the rest of 2020. Being healthy is an option for every single one of us. The only thing that stops is ourselves (and pizza).
Use the tips in this article and go and ace the rest of 2020. And don’t forget to let me know how you’re getting on in the comments!