The new year is a time to reflect on the past year while anticipating what is to come. You might consider the goals you had but weren’t able to accomplish. As a result, you may create new year’s resolutions to motivate you to achieve these goals during the upcoming year.
Improved wellness is a common resolution for many, the definition of which can vary significantly from person to person. Regardless of your definition, improving your overall wellness is a great New Year’s goal. It can be a challenging goal to attain, but in many instances, it is simply a matter of setting smart – or S.M.A.R.T. – goals.
When setting a goal, it helps to be as specific as possible. Define what that goal is and how you plan to achieve it. Having a particular purpose in mind will help keep you moving in the right direction. Being specific about your plan to achieve it is often the difference between wanting to do something and actually doing it.
Having a goal that is measurable in some way is also very important. If you can’t measure your goal, it isn’t easy to track your progress. Often, this progress is a key motivating factor that drives further improvement. Without it, you might unintentionally stall or abandon your goal.
Setting challenging goals is not a bad thing. Throughout history, many people have accomplished the seemingly impossible. Yet, such goals are typically achieved through completing smaller, more achievable tasks. Your goal should be realistic for your current ability, resources, and time limit. Accomplishing these makes progress toward achieving your more difficult long-term goals.
A goal relevant to your values and overall desired outcome is essential. Setting an irrelevant goal can create the illusion of progress but lead nowhere. It could inhibit your progress or even cause you to regress in some instances. Time wasted on irrelevant goals could have been better allotted to more relevant goals.
Having a set deadline by which you wish to accomplish your goal is critical. Without this, it is easy to procrastinate and fall behind schedule. Even failing to meet this deadline can still be helpful because the mere presence of a deadline can push you to achieve more than you would have without one.
Physical Wellness Goals
When you think of physical wellness (https://www.nih.gov/health-information/physical-wellness-toolkit), chiseled physiques may come to mind. While exercise is a critical component, so are nutrition and wellness checks. Consider applying S.M.A.R.T. to these goals in your life.
While exercise is essential, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to be physically well. Setting overly ambitious goals for yourself can be counterproductive. To improve your odds of success, try setting smaller, more realistic goals first. Achieving these can help keep you motivated for the long term.
Be specific with your exercise routine and only do exercises relevant to your goal, like yoga for flexibility or running for endurance. Set aside certain times for exercising and deadlines for each specific goal you want to achieve, like running a 5k after six months of training.
The importance of nutrition relative to physical activity is often severely underestimated. Drastic diet changes can be hard to stick with, which may lead to failure. Starting with small changes is often the best way to improve your diet. Drink more water and fewer soft drinks, eat healthier foods, or utilize a specific diet plan.
Nutrition goals are often easily measured, such as how much water you drink daily, calorie intake, grams of carbs, etc. You can also measure your body weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, or whatever specific goal you are trying to meet. Changes in your nutrition should also be relevant, taking care to avoid fad diets or supplements that don’t work.
Not many people like seeing their healthcare provider. Yet, it is an essential component of physical wellness. If addressed early, many health conditions can be treated or managed with minimal negative impact. Catching problems early can save your life in more severe diseases like cancer.
In setting this goal, you should be specific about the concerns you want to address. Often, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is picking up the phone and making an appointment. Select a specific deadline to have done this, and if you can, enlist someone to hold you accountable.
Mental Wellness in the New Year
When considering wellness, that is not just physical wellness. Mental wellness can significantly affect your overall health and should be regarded as equally important as physical fitness.
There are only so many hours in a day, and often not enough to accomplish everything on your to-do list. As a result, you might have to sacrifice some tasks. Unfortunately, self-care is often the first thing to go, which can harm your mental health.
Take time for yourself in the new year, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Be specific in your plan. Go for a ten-minute walk, read a chapter in a book each night, or take a five-minute dance break to some upbeat music. Set a reminder alarm on your phone if you have to. Self-care will initially feel challenging, but it will become a habit with time.
One aspect of mental health that is helpful is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness (https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-and-mindfulness-what-you-need-to-know) is a state of mind in which you are present in the moment for whatever you are doing. That may be meditating and concentrating on your breathing, or it may be something more active.
Mindfulness might be a challenging habit to establish, but it can markedly reduce your anxiety. Set aside specified time to practice this, similar to self-care. Starting with a more achievable goal, like doing a few minutes at a time and working your way up to more extended periods.
Unlike mindfulness, most people are aware that therapy can be helpful. Unfortunately, it’s an opportunity that not many people take advantage of. This may be for several reasons, including time, cost, misconceptions, stigmas, or even denial. Yet, the goal of seeing a therapist in the new year could be a game-changer.
Set a deadline to make an appointment like you would for a wellness check. You don’t have to be in crisis or have a severe mental health disorder to get treatment. Getting therapy before those issues develop could prevent them or minimize their severity.
If you need help with kicking off your mental wellness in the new year, Gosnold is here to help. Through our Virtual Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Platform, Gosnold has made 50 years of award winning behavioral health treatment available to anyone in Massachusetts.
“PHP is a uniquely intensive program that works really well when people can come out of their comfort zone and work as a team. By sharing experiences and challenging one another, patients develop a bond and gain essential tools on their road to recovery” said Allie Anderson, Chief Clinical Officer at Gosnold Behavioral Health.
Gosnold has immediate availability for both mental health and co-occurring tracks, to make a referral please reach out to 508.274.4477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.