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Tips to Successfully Pursue Health and Wellness Goals in 2024

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Walking and spending time outdoors on a regular basis is a health and wellness goal worth pursuing. Photo shows a person using walking sticks on a snow-covered path.More than a third of Americans made New Year’s resolutions — and plenty of people already have abandoned their 2024 self-improvement goals. This Friday is designated Quitters Day in recognition of that fact. Don’t despair if you fell short: there’s no magic to wellness goals set on Jan. 1. Take a deep breath, forgive yourself, and start again, choosing manageable, meaningful goals.

Setting simple health and wellness goals that build on each other can keep you motivated, improving both physical fitness and emotional well-being. Aim to introduce more nutritious foods to your meals, move your body more, and build relaxation breaks into your routine. Remember, the tortoise won his race by taking a slow and steady approach.

Eating Healthy 

You don’t have to completely overhaul your meals to make them healthier. If you eat meat for dinner most nights, go vegetarian one day a week. To boost your nutrient intake, add leafy greens to a pasta dish, salad or smoothie. Cook at home at least a few times a week and you’ll have more control over what you consume (with the added benefit of saving money skipping restaurant food). Drinking water and easing up on alcohol will give you more energy.

Exercise as a Lifestyle

Make it a priority to get regular exercise and spend time outside. If you have been sedentary, start with short walks. Do daily stretching and walk for 30 minutes a day several days a week. That will set the stage for expanding your exercise repertoire. If you can’t find a block of 30 minutes to exercise, do three 10-minute stints. Then start adding time and diversifying your exercise routine. To ward off monotony, take a fitness class in person or online. Try seasonal sports like snow-shoeing, ice skating or cross-country skiing. You might regain a childhood love for winter.

Nurturing Emotional Health

We all have demands on our time and energy, but it’s important to prioritize emotional wellness. A powerful de-stressor is to practice meditation as part of your morning routine. It can cultivate a sense of calm that sustains you throughout your daily activities. Achieving that calm can be as simple as sitting quietly for several minutes and taking slow deep inhales and exhales. Guided imagery meditations and focused mantras take a little more practice and time, but have tremendous payoffs.

Practicing gratitude cultivates optimism, which has been shown to promote emotional health. Keep a journal or set aside a few minutes a day to reflect on goodness in your life. Setting wellness goals also involves recognizing the importance of boundaries. For example, make it a goal to stop using your phone before bed, creating a technology-free zone that promotes relaxation and better sleep.

A Holistic Approach to Health and Wellness Goals

Health and wellness goals for the new year go beyond a mere checklist of resolutions. They embody a commitment to a lifestyle that nourishes the body, invigorates the spirit, and nurtures the mind. Prioritize adequate sleep, stay hydrated and spend time in nature; these health goals have lasting benefits for physical and mental health.

Whatever goal you set, start small and build on your successes. If you have an off day or week, forgive yourself and then pick up where you left off. Consider finding a wellness partner or group to inspire one another. That said, each person is on their own health and wellness journey, so try not to compare yourself with others. Remember, you are laying the foundation for a future filled with vitality, resilience, and fulfillment. Check out NewBridge Services’ Mental Health & Wellness articles for more ideas.

If you are struggling emotionally, get help. Contact NewBridge Services at services@newbridge.org or call (973) 316-9333. Mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment are among the programs NewBridge offers adults.

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