By Bonnie Carleton, BS, CHES, Health Educator with the Learning Resource Center
Each year on January 1st, I set lofty year-long goals for myself. Some of these goals I have been successful with (yes- I really went a whole year with no donuts!) and other goals I have not been able to achieve. I tend to set very ambitious - yet not totally realistic - goals. In the past, I have fallen short of my goals and found myself very discouraged around February/March.
I’ve been hearing people talk about setting fall/winter resolutions for themselves instead of waiting until the New Year to think about healthy lifestyle changes that they would like to make. These stories have inspired me to pick a few healthy goals to focus on for the next couple of months. I intentionally picked goals that are a stretch out of my normal routine, but that aren’t too challenging or unrealistic. Let’s be real - I’m definitely going to be eating my fair share of pumpkin pie and sugar cookies during the holiday season.
Below are my 3 goals that I’m going to focus on for the remainder of 2018. I’ll be writing a follow-up blog in 2019 to tell you about my successes & challenges with these goals.
Goal #1: Drink more water
I know that I definitely don’t drink enough water every day. Water is essential to keep our bodies healthy and functioning properly. Here’s an article about why water is so important.
My goal for the rest of 2018 is to drink 100 ounces of water each day. This is about 6 large glasses. I’m a list-orientated person, so I’ve started adding this goal to my daily to-do list to hold myself accountable. I draw 6 cups on my list and cross each out as I finish drinking a glass of water. It’s so satisfying to check it off when I’ve met the goal!
Not a fan of the taste (or lack thereof) of plain water? Try adding fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs to your water for a kick of flavor. Here are some fun flavor combos to try.
Goal #2: Get 30 minutes of movement each day
My second goal is to move my body for at least 30 minutes each day. We all know that physical activity is super important for our health & wellbeing. Here’s an article about the benefits of physical activity if you’d like to learn more.
I picked the word ‘movement’ when I wrote this goal as a way to give myself some flexibility with it. Some days I will be motivated to go to the gym after work. Other days, I won’t be as motivated and I can choose to go for a walk around my neighborhood instead. Additionally, if I spend half an hour walking around at the grocery store on a Sunday morning, I’ll also call that a win.
The other nice thing about this goal is that I’m allowing myself to break up the 30 minutes into smaller chunks of time throughout the day. I like that I can take 3 short walking breaks and still meet my goal.
Goal #3: Write in a mindfulness journal
The change of seasons usually puts me in a bit of a funk, but I feel like this season is hitting me particularly hard. I’ve been struggling with anxious feelings and being tired during the day, yet not sleeping well at night. As a result, I’ve decided to try using a mindfulness journal as a way to calm my scattered mind.
I’m not sure why, but in the past I have resisted when people have encouraged me to incorporate more mindfulness into my life. Maybe it was the thought of sitting completely still for an hour on a yoga mat in a quiet room that scared me. I’ve always felt like my busy lifestyle and never-ending to-do lists didn’t allow any wiggle room for it. Realistically, I know that there are so many small ways to incorporate mindfulness into the day that don’t take a lot of time. I also know that mindfulness offers quite a few health benefits.
I’ve decided to set a small mindfulness goal for myself. I ordered a mindfulness journal that is filled with short writing prompts. My goal is this: 3 days a week, I will spend 10 minutes writing in the journal. This may not sound like much to some people, but I honestly think this will be the goal that I struggle with the most. I’m hopeful that carving out this small amount of time each week will have a positive effect on my mental health.
I would ideally like to challenge myself to use the journal every day. Maybe one day I will work up to that, but for now I feel that 3 days a week is a realistic goal to start with.
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Let us know what your healthy goals are! The health educators at the Learning Resource Center are happy to help. We provide trusted & reliable health information and connect people to local resources in the community. Connect with a health educator today! Be well, be well informed.