Blog > How to Make Progress on Your Health Goals Before the End of the Year

How to Make Progress on Your Health Goals Before the End of the Year

Get on the right track before 2024
Person stretching outside on a winter run

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If you started off the year with ambitious health goals and haven’t fully achieved them, you may feel tempted to abandon them and celebrate the remaining weeks of the year. Many people, after all, prefer to use the holiday season as an excuse for indulgence and postpone their focus on their health and well-being until the new year. However, many people also underestimate the importance of those final few weeks of the year.

True, you’re not likely to shed 50 pounds in the span of three weeks, but you can use this period to lay the groundwork for a healthier 2024 and still make noticeable progress on your goals before 2023 wraps up. By adopting some strategic lifestyle changes and dedicating yourself to maintaining them, you can make tremendous strides toward your goals in a relatively brief timeframe.

Here’s a guide to making significant progress on your health goals in just a few weeks. Whether you focus on establishing a regular exercise routine, revamping your diet, managing your stress, or enhancing your sleep habits, these steps can help you end the year on a high note.

Update Your Workout Routine

If your goal was to get fit in 2023, there’s still time to intensify your workout routine and see results. If you’ve struggled all year to find time for the gym, try regular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at home. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, HIIT provides a complete workout in as little as 30 minutes of your day and has been shown to decrease body fat, increase strength and endurance, and improve health outcomes.

Of course, not everyone is currently fit enough to jump directly into a full HIIT workout. If you need to intensify your workout routine at a slower pace, U.S. News & World Report recommends boosting your cardio by engaging your arms, incorporating hills and inclines or a weighted vest into your typical cardio routine, or boosting your strength training by lifting heavier weights and adding instability to your routine.

There are plenty of workout plans that can help you achieve results in as little as three weeks, but they do require dedication.

Revamp Your Diet with Nutrient-Dense Foods

If you set a goal to revamp your diet this year, there’s still plenty of time to do so (even during the holidays). Instead of focusing on calorie restriction or avoiding unhealthy foods completely, which can be particularly hard at the end of the year, focus on adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet.

Superfoods provide numerous health benefits and, more specifically, are usually noted for their heart health benefits, immunity-boosting power and cancer-preventing properties, according to Cleveland Clinic. Delicious superfoods include avocados, berries, beets, chia seeds, cinnamon, and dark leafy greens.

If time constraints make it challenging for you to adopt healthier eating habits, proactive planning can make a significant difference in your success. Explore recipes that are not only quick and nutritious but also suitable for bulk preparation during evenings or weekends. This ensures you always have a healthy meal within reach. Even on days when cooking isn’t an option, you can still maintain a healthy diet by keeping simple options on hand, such as yogurt topped with berries and cinnamon for a quick breakfast, a vibrant salad featuring dark leafy greens for lunch, or a salmon dish when having dinner at your favorite restaurant.

However, the most straightforward change you can make to improve your diet starts with one essential element: water. Adequate hydration has a profound effect on your overall health, and overcoming dehydration— which can lead to fatigue, a slower metabolism, disrupted sleep, and other issues — is as easy as increasing your water intake throughout the day.

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Prioritize Rest and Recovery

Regardless of whether you included improving your sleep hygiene on your list of goals for the year, incorporating quality rest in your life is crucial to achieving any health-related goal. The influence of sleep extends beyond mere energy levels, affecting both your physical and mental well-being, and it can even play a role in weight management. Similarly, incorporating rest days into your exercise routine is vital; neglecting to do so can result in more than just muscle soreness — it can also lead to exhaustion, overeating, and a decline in mental health.

While taking a day off from exercise might come easily to you, elevating the quality of your sleep can be more challenging. To optimize your sleep and create a tranquil environment, keep technology out of your bedroom. Lower the room temperature on your thermostat and engage in stress-reducing activities before bed to further improve your night’s sleep.

Implement Mindfulness and Stress Management Techniques

Just as you might establish a broad goal for mitigating stress, it’s important to acknowledge the role stress plays in success if you’re pursuing any health-related goals. The adverse effects of stress can significantly hinder your journey towards fitness, weight loss, and other targets. Beyond its impact on specific goals, stress can also contribute to the onset of various diseases.

If you’re looking for a straightforward and swift method to alleviate stress, make mindfulness exercises and stress management strategies part of your everyday routine.

Engaging in meditation and deep breathing exercises has been proven to not only assist in stress management but to lower resting heart rate, decrease blood pressure, enhance sleep quality, and boost creativity. So, consider practicing deep breathing while at your desk or during your daily stroll. Leave the headphones behind and immerse yourself in the present moment.

Establish Accountability and Support Systems

No matter which health goals you want to accomplish in 2024, it’s essential to establish robust support systems and accountability measures so you can maintain momentum as you work toward your goals over the next three weeks. The impact of proper social support can’t be over stressed; it can be truly transformative.

Consider leveraging an accountability tool such as the Arootah habit tracking app, seeking guidance from a health coach as you transition into the new year, or rallying friends or colleagues to participate in your three-week health challenge.

As Elaine Moen, Arootah’s Director of Wellness Relations, recommends, “Schedule one workout a week with a friend. This can be a yoga class, a walk, or a run outside. This is a great way to be held accountable, but more importantly, find connection during the holiday season.”

The Bottom Line

Whether you want to intensify your workout routine, boost your diet through nutrient-rich foods, practice mindfulness, reduce stress, or improve sleep, there’s still time to take action. Even if you’ve made limited progress on your health goals thus far, you can turn things around and jumpstart your progress for 2024. With a little commitment and consistency, you can get on the right track and feel better, both physically and mentally, going into the new year.

Need more help planning and setting goals for the new year? Save the date for our annual Goal-Setting Workshop on January 4, 2024.

Get actionable tips to help you energize and reprioritize self-care. Sign up for The Wellness Return newsletter today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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