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By Sherry Roberts RD, CDE
Setting wellness goals for each year is important for your overall health journey. In this article, I share some ways to kick off 2022 with health in mind.
When setting wellness goals, it’s best to goals that are SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. We often start our new year with lofty goals and ambitions, which is great, but we need a plan in place to help us achieve the goal.
For example, the goal may be to start exercising, but what does that look like in your day-to-day life? One SMART goal may look like this: “I will walk for 30 minutes each day after my evening meal for the next two weeks.” After the two weeks, look at how well you met the goal and adjust as needed.
If you exceeded your goal, add another layer to the goal such as: “I will walk for 45 minutes each day after my evening meal at a faster pace for the next two weeks.” If you did not, that is OK! Do not give up. Make adjustments that might look like this: “I will walk for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after my evening meal for the next two weeks.” With consistent effort and with a plan, you will reach your goal in 2022.
Although setting goals is extremely helpful, do not overwhelm yourself with setting more than one or two goals at a time. Focus on one to two areas of health and wellness. Then once you have met those goals, and they become new healthy habits, add a new goal to work on.
Also, give yourself grace if you do not reach your goal by a designated time or if you have already stopped working on it. Re-evaluate the goal and see what may have been the reason to stop. Make adjustments and start again. There is nothing wrong with making changes along the way. Life is a journey and we face many challenges on our way to the finish line. We can make changes along the way as long as we are moving forward. Enjoy the process and be consistent.
Fluids are important for your body to perform at its highest level. Did you know that fluids help circulate the necessary nutrients you need to all of the different parts of the body? Additionally, the body uses fluids to flush out the toxins that build up in the system. When we do not have enough fluids, dehydration can occur. Dehydration can impact your mood, your energy level, and even your blood sugars may be elevated during dehydration. Here are a few tips to increase your fluid intake:
Use your urine color as a lookout for dehydration. Clear or light yellow colored urine indicates good hydration while darker yellow urine indicates dehydration.
Our diets should include a variety of colors in them each day. Think about making half of your plate a colorful palate of fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables will add a multitude of vitamins and minerals to your diet and will also increase your fiber intake. Fiber will help with your GI health and is great to help with blood sugar control. Be sure to add 1.5-2 cup size servings of fruit to your diet each day and 2-3 cup size servings of vegetables per day. Don’t hesitate to try a new fruit or vegetable that you have not tried before; you never know if you will like it. You may just surprise yourself!
Get up and start moving! It is recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week, and that boils down to about 30 minutes per day. You do not have to go and run a marathon! Start with your pace and go at your speed. If you can only do 10 minutes at a time, that is great. Start with 10 minutes 2-3 times per day and that will add up to the recommended 30 minutes.
You can even get exercise in if you are only able to sit down. Start with marching in place while seated and move your arms with it. That will get your heart pumping and can be good for your movement journey. It is also recommended to use resistance training at least 2 times per week. Again, start small and work your way up. Balance training is an additional way to improve your health and help prevent falls. The bottom line is to get your body moving. You can do it and before you know it, you will be able to do 30 minutes without stopping.