The New Year is just around the corner, and that means one thing: resolutions. Did you know that health goals are the most common resolutions people set? Unfortunately, most of us struggle to keep them as the year wears on.
There are dozens of reasons for this: the goals were unrealistic, we didn’t have the equipment, time, or tools to uphold them, or they just felt like a punishment instead of an improvement.
Don’t worry, though - we’re not suggesting you stop making New Year’s Resolutions - only that you start setting realistic health goals that actually feel good. In this post, we will share our top tips for setting those health goals and a few secrets to getting a head start on them this year.
Let’s dive in.
Setting Realistic Health Goals: a Crash Course
The biggest problem most health goals have is that they’re just not realistic. For example, if you say you want to eliminate all sugar or carbs from your diet or start running 100 miles a week, that’s going to feel like a BIG ask in a very short amount of time.
And, when it does, you’re going to do what most of us would do - you’re going to quit!
Instead, the secret to setting lasting health goals is to make them realistic. In fact, you can even afford to make them a little fun. For example, instead of punishing yourself by cutting out every tasty drink you enjoy, commit to finding a sugar-free coffee creamer you love and adding it to your morning routine. Instead of striving to become someone who runs ultra-marathons, commit to running a 5K with a friend.
You’ll have the best luck when your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
5 Tips to Get a Head Start on Your Health Goals
Now that we’ve talked about what makes a good goal let’s talk about how you can get a head start on crushing yours. Here are our top tips:
1. Introduce healthy habits now
There’s no need to wait until the ball drops to start in on those healthy habits. It’ll be harder to adjust later if you’re maintaining unhealthy habits now. If you know there are small changes you want to make, start introducing them today.
For example, if your goal is weight loss in the New Year, start eating less processed food and incorporate some type of movement into your daily routine. You may be surprised by how much simply walking or drinking enough water actually does for you! Think of these tiny changes as the little shoves that get the ball rolling. They are small, achievable and allow you to be successful. When you implement the next health practice, you are more likely to follow through and be effective there as well. It's the small lifestyle changes that will lead to long-lasting, amazing results.
2. Zero in on your substitutes
So much of developing healthy habits is just figuring out how to stop the unhealthy ones. And substitutes are a massive part of that. For example, if you’ve gotten used to drinking your morning coffee with two heaping tablespoons of white sugar and a half a cup of cream, look for a substitute that keeps things delicious but doesn’t send your blood sugar into the stratosphere.
Not sure where to start? Try our delicious white chocolate coffee creamer or salted caramel coffee creamer. Keto friendly and made with Stevia, these sugar-free coffee creamers are delicious and support a healthier lifestyle. This way you can keep your morning ritual that makes you feel human - just tweak it to align with your goals. Say it with us: you deserve some life affirming guilt-free sweetness.
3. Set an intention
If you’ve ever been in a yoga class, you know that the instructor typically asks you to set an intention for the practice. This intention could be anything, but generally, it’s a word that describes what you want to get out of the time you’ve set aside to be there. For example, it could be “calm,” “surrender,” “peace,” etc.
We love the One Word concept. Instead of making (and breaking) lofty New Year's resolutions, the idea is to find one word that embodies how you want to show up and who you want to be in this new year. It's simple and powerful. For the next couple of weeks, be thinking about your core values and what you want to create in your life. During your mediation or prayer time, ask the question: What is my word? Once you've decided on your word, it can be amazing to see how it takes on new meaning as you develop a relationship with it and the person it is guiding you to become. To get a jump start on your goals this year, find your word now, and commit to living it throughout 2021.
4. Make it fun
It’s a common misconception that health goals have to feel like punishment - that they don’t mean anything unless they hurt. If you want to create an authentic, long-lasting health goal, you'd better make it fun. For example, say your goal is to get more active in 2021. The best way to do that is to find a physical activity you enjoy - whether that’s running, weight lifting, or Zumba. Exercise is so much more effective when it doesn't feel like exercise. We love kickboxing for it's amazing cardio, strength and skill building benefits. It's easy to do at home without equipment but we highly recommend joining a gym. Because let's face it - time flies when you're engaged in learning a new technique... and punching things is enormously satisfying.
The more fun your health goals are, the more likely you’ll be to keep them. Bonus points if your New Year’s Resolutions include involving a friend, trying something new, or exploring the outdoors around where you live.
5. Reward yourself
In the world of habit-keeping and goal-setting, there’s a trend toward gamification. Put simply, gamification is the addition of game elements to things that aren’t necessarily games. For example, gamification is the “badge” you earn after a week of working out with your favorite app. As the New Year draws close, look for ways to gamify your goals for yourself.
Here’s what we recommend: find ways to reward yourself frequently for small wins. For example, a day of healthy, whole-foods eating means you get to enjoy a couple bites of dark chocolate at night. A healthy routine means you have a delicious cup of sugar-free hot cocoa to beat the afternoon slump. Hitting your weight loss goals means you get to buy a new shirt that has you feeling saucy!
There’s no “wrong” way to do this. The goal is to celebrate your small wins, keep things fresh for yourself, practice gratitude, and make space to recognize your achievements and hard work.
The New Year Looks Bright
2021 is the year you’re going to crush your health goals - we just know it. By following the tips in the article above, you can set yourself up to meet your health goals and become your best self yet. Don’t forget to give yourself a head start by stocking up on 5 Sparrows sugar-free coffee creamers now!