‘SMART’ goals key to keeping New Year’s resolutions
photo by: Contributed Photo
As the year comes to a close, we spend time reflecting, celebrating and setting our goals for the new year to come. This year, we’re entering into a new decade as well.
Almost half of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution for themselves. This can be anything from spending less time on social media to losing weight or reducing unhealthy habits. Though these resolutions are great, nearly 80% of us kick those goals to the curb in the first few weeks of the year.
With any big change, taking baby steps is one of the best ways to reach your goals. If you vow to quit smoking in 2020, stopping cold turkey may seem like a huge hill to climb. Slowly reducing your habits and making healthier changes every day can help you achieve your goals much more effectively.
When setting your goals, remember the acronym SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Make a plan for 2020 that includes small and attainable goals. This will better equip you to get things done slowly but surely. Setting unrealistic goals can leave you feeling defeated and angry, so giving yourself a checklist can help you avoid these feelings and simplify your goals.
What New Year’s resolutions do you have for yourself this year? LMH Health wants to provide you with some ideas of some SMART goals to set for yourself and some resources to help you achieve them.
Your mental and physical health are equally important for your overall well-being. Mental illness can increase the risk of other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 50% of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lifetimes.
The good news is that immediate and affordable resources have become easier to access.
One free resource available to Douglas County residents is the myStrength app. The vision for this app was to be “the health club for your mind.”
The app provides you digital resources to help those in need of encouragement that are designed to go hand in hand with other forms of care such as working with a behavioral health professional or taking medication. It provides resources to create a lasting change. Download the app and email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your access code.
An apple a day
Vowing to eat healthier takes the cake as the No. 1 New Year’s resolution for Americans. Maybe you’ve made this resolution before but like many do, you started to disregard this goal after a week or two of trying. Eating healthier may sound daunting — more trips to the grocery store, higher grocery bills, more time preparing meals — but it doesn’t have to be this intimidating.
Something simple and effective to do when going to the grocery store is to make a list. Before heading out, decide what you want to eat for the week. Not only will this save you time at the store, but it will help you avoid the more unhealthy items not on your list and cut down on overspending and overbuying.
It also can be hard to decide what healthy items to include on your plate and what you should leave off. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has your back. To find a meal plan that is right for you, visit choosemyplate.gov to get a free food plan personalized for you based on your age, sex, height, weight and physical activity.
Another top New Year’s resolution is to increase physical activity. Getting exercise every day can be challenging for people juggling work, school, kids and extracurricular activities, among other things. The CDC recommends setting a goal tailored to your busy lifestyle. Tell yourself exactly what you want to achieve, like walking for 15 minutes per day each week.
Activities vary from person to person and you get to decide what sounds fun to you. Is this walking, biking, running, swimming, dancing, strength and conditioning? LMH Health Sports Performance can help with classes that aim to help you reach new heights and stay healthy and strong while improving your skills. Our coaches will walk with you to reach your goals and offer a structured but fun training environment. For more information, visit www.lmh.org/perform.
Schedule your doctor’s visits
Whether your goals are to lose weight, eat healthier or take more time for yourself, you should plan your annual health care visits for the year ahead. Visiting your primary care physician every year for a checkup is one of the best ways to keep your health in check and take control of your health.
Having a yearly checkup allows you to catch any potential serious diseases early on so your risk of serious medical emergencies decreases. It is the perfect time to call and schedule your appointments, from primary care visits to dental and optometry appointments.
We are excited for you to make new goals and achieve them this New Year. We wish you a very happy, healthy and safe 2020.
— Jessica Brewer is the social media and digital communications specialist at LMH Health, which is a major sponsor of the Lawrence Journal-World’s health section.