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February 08, 2021

Five attainable health goals for 2021

Adult Health Goals

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Chances are you have started at least a few Januaries with a resolution for the year to come. People often begin a year with goals for their health, but after a flurry of gym signups and diet plans, those objectives are too often forgotten before the calendar turns to February.

If you want to change your health for the better in 2021, it’s important to set goals that are not only transformational, but achievable. It may seem harder to set meaningful health goals amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but even without the gym or group workout classes, there are five things you can accomplish that will impact you well beyond the next few months:

1. Improve your sleep

The success of each day is built on a night of quality sleep. Sleep allows your mind to recover from the day and is essential to virtually every other aspect of health from weight management to blood pressure. If you can establish a routine that allows for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night, you’ll be in the best position to achieve your other health goals. To get a good night’s sleep, establish a sleep schedule, get exercise each day, watch your diet (see #2 below), and limit napping.

2. Commit to a healthier diet

For at least the first part of 2021, many of us will still be spending more time at home and less time eating out. That makes this an opportune time to transition into making home-cooked meals that provide the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. A healthy diet at home isn’t difficult: eat a mix of grains, fruits, and vegetables; consume lean meats; drink plenty of water; and keep your diet light on salt, sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, and alcohol. The key is to choose diet goals that are concrete and realistic. It has to be very easy to tell whether you are keeping your promises to yourself or not. And if your goals leave you feeling hungry and deprived, they probably won't last.

3. Master home workouts

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may not feel comfortable working out at the gym or attending your favorite in-person exercise class. Fortunately, there’s another way to get yourself in peak physical condition: master the home workout. You can easily do circuit training in the comfort of your living room. These routines can provide the benefits of both aerobic exercise and strength training. An expensive set of weights isn’t even necessary — body weight exercises can be just as effective!

4. Manage your stress

You might not think of stress management as a physical health goal, but stress can have a significant impact on your physical well-being, causing your body to expend a lot of energy. This can leave you feeling exhausted and can also lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and other problems. Try meditation or relaxation exercises in 2021 to reduce your stress levels while also making an effort to let go of the things you can’t control. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, there is help available. Don’t try to tough it out — have a conversation with your primary health care provider.

5. Establish life-long habits

Establishing an exercise routine, sticking with a sleep schedule, or changing your diet can be difficult at first. But after adjusting your behavior for some time, those changes become life-long habits which require little effort. Make 2021 the year you not only set health goals, but positively change your daily practices in a sustainable way for the long run.

Every step you take toward improving your health and well-being puts you on the path to a longer, more fulfilling life — a goal that’s well worth the effort! In time, healthy choices will become easier to make when you see your overall quality of life improve as a result.

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