Your Guide to Setting Health Goals for the New Year
It’s that time of year again: resolution time. Every year, millions of people make their list of New Year’s resolutions to try and make improvements to their lives in various ways. These resolutions are often health-focused, listing out goals for actions to take every day or “bad” habits to avoid as much as possible. The problem is, expecting these changes to happen instantly is a recipe for failure.
Instead of setting difficult goals that rely on you having to make sudden, huge changes to your habits, let’s think of healthy lifestyle goals that are achievable for the long term. Read on for your guide to setting health goals for the new year that will blossom into healthier habits all year long.
Tips for Setting Health Goals for the New Year
The key to successfully setting health goals for the new year starts with realistic self-assessment and deciding what you want to work on. You don’t have to change everything all at once! At one time or another, we’ve all made a list of new year health goals that fell to the wayside after a few weeks or a couple of months simply because they demanded too much too fast. Cementing healthy lifestyle goals into habits takes time. Don’t think of these as healthy New Year’s resolutions, but as evolutions!
Setting health goals for the new year looks different for each individual. Some of our favorite methods for identifying healthy lifestyle goals are:
- Setting S.M.A.R.T. health goals
- Making a detailed plan for your health goals
- Tracking your habits
- Acknowledging setbacks and giving yourself a break
- Thinking of what you’re adding, not taking away
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Health Goals
One of the most effective ways of setting health goals for the new year is to use the S.M.A.R.T. method. The S.M.A.R.T. method is designed to help people make goals that will stick! The letters stand for:
Setting S.M.A.R.T. new year health goals starts with identifying a goal specific in number and in frequency. Instead of saying you want to be more active, you can specify for yourself that you want to do 30 minutes of exercise three days a week, instead. Next is being meaningful, which means determining why the goal is important to you. Setting health goals for the new year stands a better chance of success if the outcome is important to you, personally, instead of something you think you should be doing for external reasons.
Continuing along the S.M.A.R.T. method is being action-oriented. This means selecting which actions you’ll take to achieve them. For example, if you want to start a nightly routine to unwind for bed, you can say you want to turn off electronics then relax for at least 20 minutes in your zero gravity chair to improve sleep quality.
Setting realistic goals means picking a goal that is achievable. You want to set yourself up for success. For example, for those choosing physical activities, choose shorter, achievable milestones and build on them over time. Starting off running by saying you’ll be ready for a marathon in a couple of weeks isn’t reasonable. Instead, say you’ll start by jogging one or two miles, depending on your fitness level and limitations, and grow from there. This also gives you opportunities to celebrate successes along the way.
Lastly, S.M.A.R.T. healthy lifestyle goals are time-based. What’s a reasonable cadence for your new healthy habit? What date would you like to achieve your first milestone? Adding this consideration to your goals makes you more likely to keep up with them and continue them in the long term for a healthier lifestyle all year long.
Note: Some people use “achievable” for the “A” in S.M.A.R.T. goals. We refocus this under “realistic” and prefer “action-oriented” to center on taking an active role in our goals.
Making a Detailed Plan for Your Health Goals
The S.M.A.R.T. method isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That’s okay! If you prefer to do things a little differently, making a detailed plan for your health goals is another way to start. The biggest takeaway from detailed goal planning is that you should plan out small successes and milestones along the way instead of focusing solely on your ultimate goal.
Find out what motivates you and what you want to accomplish. Then break that down into how you can fit it into your schedule without it feeling like a burden to increase the chances you’ll stick with it long enough for it to become a healthy habit.
Tracking Your Habits
Speaking of habits, tracking your habits is another method for setting health goals for the new year. Whether you enjoy keeping a health journal, creating spreadsheets for yourself, or tracking your health goals with an app, keeping on top of monitoring your progress is likely to help you stay motivated. Permanent healthy habits take an average of 66 days to form, and seeing your successes along the way is an incentive to keep going!
If your goal is to eat healthier meals, track your food with one of the many available nutrition apps. Wanting to regulate your sleep/wake cycle? Record what time you wake up and go to sleep each day. You can also track other health goals for the new year like making time for your mental health by keeping track of how often you meditate at home or time spent in a zero gravity chair mindfully de-stressing after each day.
Acknowledging Setbacks and Cutting Yourself a Break
One of the most important things to remember when setting health goals for the new year is to acknowledge that slip ups will happen. The important thing is to recognize you’re off track and to start back once again. Instead of feeling down about yourself if you skip the gym for a few days or indulge in a treat you were trying to cut back on or eliminate from your diet, simply know that tomorrow is another day and the perfect time to start back on your goals again!
Thinking of What You’re Adding, Not Taking Away
The last entry in our guide to setting health goals for the new year can be a tricky one. Too often we focus on what we’re taking away in order to set new year health goals. It might be certain foods, certain activities like watching television, or even your former “free time” that now includes working out instead of sitting on the couch. Instead of focusing on what’s being taken away, thinking about what you’re adding is much more rewarding and keeps you more likely to stick to your goals.
For example, instead of saying you’re giving up screen time in the evenings, reframe it in terms of saying you’re adding a self-care routine with your zero gravity chair that improves your overall wellness and quality of life. You’re not giving up ice cream or other favorite treats, but adding more nutritious foods to support healthy lifestyle goals.
Training yourself to see these changes as new additions to your life instead of things you enjoy being taken away makes a huge difference. Success can take just as much perspective as it does action.
We hope this guide to setting health goals for the new year has inspired you! Instead of resolutions, focus on evolutions. Create those healthy lifestyle goals with a positive mindset in mind. Make them realistic, achievable, and specific to improve chances you’ll continue sticking with them for the long term.
Zero gravity chairs make excellent tools for supporting your new year health goals. Curious to learn more? Check out the Svago Swivel Zero Gravity Recliner to boost your health in style!