It’s that time of the year when many people start thinking about their New Year’s resolutions.
The most popular resolution? “Living healthier.” According to data from YouGovAmerica, nearly 25% of Americans resolved to become healthier in 2022.
And while New Year’s resolutions can certainly have positive effects on our lives, it is best to make investments in good health that last for the long run.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle starts with one simple word: goals. Whether your health goals are based on mental well-being, fitness, weight loss, nutrition, or something else entirely, your goals will only ever remain dreams without a plan and accountability.
Since good health is often created one habit at a time, we’re here to inspire you with some of our favorite health goals. As you pursue your wellness goals in the new year, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re making a long-term investment in your health.
Mental Health Goal Examples
Your physical and mental health are intrinsically linked. If you’re not convinced, just do a little research on the science of stress.
Stress and the way we think about it largely involve mental work.
For this reason, it’s critical that you prioritize your mental health. Here are some goals (and habits) you can set to improve your mental well-being:
Get mental health support
Most people benefit from therapy at some point in their lives. While some individuals seek out a therapist to navigate a crisis or trauma, many also go to therapy to manage stress and changes in routine. Think of this type of mental health support in the way you think about taking your car to the shop: Routine maintenance helps everything run smoothly and can mitigate severe damage down the line.
Be more mindful
Mindfulness has been shown to help people alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Getting into the habit of practicing mindfulness can help you enjoy experiences more fully.
Research suggests that journaling is a well-known and effective way of improving and maintaining your mental wellness. One study found that just 20 minutes of journaling about a stressful experience lead to significant health improvements in as few as four months.
Honor your feelings
One of the pillars of psychotherapy is learning to honor your feelings. You can drastically improve your mental health by allowing yourself to experience and process your feelings in a healthy way.
Fitness Goal Examples
As with your mind, your body needs exercise to perform well. While exercise improves your physical health, setting and working toward fitness goals can be a great way to boost your mood and connect with others.
Try a new physical activity
If you’re not sure what your favorite fitness activities are, make a commitment in the new year to try something different every quarter. By switching up your routine, you can continue to challenge your muscles and body. Among the countless activities you can try: running, yoga, CrossFit, Pilates, weightlifting, rock climbing, and hiking.
Walk 10k steps each day
While 10,000 steps may sound overwhelming, most people can achieve this goal. If you find that it’s hard to hit this step goal daily, look at ways you can build your routine around getting more steps in. Gradually work up to 10k each day if you’re starting at a much lower count, since the average American only gets about 3-4k steps each day.
Exercise 3 to 4 times a week
We all know we should be working out, but fitness researchers have long debated for how long and how often. Although you probably don’t need to hit the gym every day, health experts recommend getting in about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. So, three to four workouts a week (at a minimum of 20 minutes) is a good starting goal for many people.
Complete a fitness challenge
Entering a fitness challenge can provide you with a fun goal to work towards in the new year. A fitness goal here could mean running a 5k, working up to 100 pushups, or doing a program like the 75 Hard.
Stretch every day
Stretching is one of the most effective methods for preventing injury and improving your physical performance. Try to stretch every day. Before bed or right after waking up are perfect times to stretch because it helps relax your muscles.
Nutrition Goal Examples
Your daily nutrition has a significant impact on your long-term well-being. Maintaining healthy nutrition habits can improve your quality of life, including your mental clarity, digestion, sleep, and energy levels.
Increase your protein intake
Carbs are easy to come by throughout the day, so kick off your morning with a solid serving of protein. Trade a breakfast bar for a hardboiled egg and a handful of almonds or make a healthy green smoothie with protein powder. In addition to changing your protein intake at breakfast, try to incorporate proteins, along with carbohydrates and healthy fats, into each of your meals.
Eat 2 to 3 servings of veggies each day
Most people don’t get enough vegetables in their diet. The average person needs four to five servings of veggies and fruit per day. Try to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, or look for “sneaky” ways to include them in your meals, such as adding a handful of spinach to your morning smoothie or loading up your next soup recipe with veggies.
Make smart food swaps
Try to find substitutes for any typically unhealthy foods or drinks you enjoy on a regular basis, such as coffee creamers, chips, salty snacks, or refined carbs.
Drink 8 glasses of water each day
You simply won’t feel your best if you don’t stay hydrated. Try to drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day and always keep a water bottle nearby.
Meal prep each week
When you plan meals in advance, it can be easier to eat healthily. Try to set aside some time each weekend to map out your meals for the coming week. If it’s an option for you, consider having your groceries delivered to your home, so you always have healthy meal options on hand.
Cut back on alcohol
Alcohol is one of the most harmful substances out there. Consider evaluating how much alcohol you consume each week and the risks associated with that consumption. The start of the new year is also a good time to consider taking part in Dry January.
The Bottom Line
Setting health goals today can help set you up for long-term health and well-being. The key to achieving these goals is to change your habits.
If you’re looking for support in setting (and maintaining!) your health goals, sign up for our upcoming goal setting workshop to take your goal work to the next level.