“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos- the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s the start of a new year and, like many of us, I’m sure you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions.
If one of those resolutions centers on health and wellness, I want to talk to you today about setting personal health goals.
Believe it or not, these can start with things that are easily done and completely within your reach. Start with the basics outlined below and you’ll find reaching your personal health goals doable and better all around.
Each of these goals achieves so much more than you might think at first glance.
Enough sleep–Sleeping well is vital to the success of the rest of your health goals. Good sleep in achievable if you know how. Many people do not understand the importance of getting enough restorative sleep every night. There seems to be this misconception that you have to put your health on the back burner in order to succeed.
I once had a coworker who loved the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” She didn’t want to miss out on spending time with her kids and grandkids, going to the latest community party, or doing anything that didn’t involve sleep. Often, she came to work bleary-eyed and sucked down cup after cup of coffee so she could make it through her day. Then she would start her night life all over again a few hours later.
Why is it we value those who put their health last over those who prioritize getting enough sleep or at the very least rest?
Try not to fall into this belief. Acknowledge that sleeping enough each night is fundamental to good health. The average person needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. This provides the body with time to rest and repair itself from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.
Life will intervene and cause disruptions in your sleep, such as the kids, elderly parents, your job, and maybe a party here and there. Your goal should be to sleep between seven and nine hours a night as often as possible. This is a valuable component of your good health.
Eat Right–You control the food that goes into your mouth. (Sorry. Keeping it real.) Unfortunately, the food industry has confused the issue so much around healthy eating–getting to and maintaining a healthy weight and optimal nutrition is expensive and difficult–that people end up with health-related issues.
If you’re anything like me, you jump on the latest fad diet that promises to help you drop pounds as quick as possible. There is little thought to what these diets are doing to your body internally. Never mind the havoc it can play on your mind when you’ve lost the weight, only to gain back everything you’ve lost, plus 10 additional pounds. I’ve been there. I understand.
Eating right is simple, and it isn’t as expensive as the diet industry leads you to believe. Beans, lentils, tofu, rice, frozen, canned, and fresh in-season produce in the right caloric amount are all you need to be healthy. When prepared simply and served in the right amounts to each person, the cost will be a lot less than you think.
If this seems too difficult, have a talk with a registered dietician or nutritionist for help with grocery shopping and meal planning.
Movement Matters – Everyone is busy these days. The problem is that we spend that busy time sitting rather than standing or moving around.
You don’t have to do as much exercise as you may think to safeguard your health. Walk at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes each week will ensure your good health. In addition, you can walk, swim, bike, play sports, and even deep clean your home to get in enough movement.
To promote the health benefits of movement, many companies support having walking meetings. If that is too much for you, stand up when someone comes into your office and talk with them while standing. Run up and down the steps during a break. Pace while talking on the phone if you can.
The minutes add up.
Water Bottles Up–You may not think hydration is an important goal, but there are many people walking around dehydrated. I’m in that club. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve reached the end of my work only to realize that I have drank little if any water for the day. Coffee, yes, water, no. Dehydration can lead to constipation, brain fog, overheating, kidney stones, and more. If you’re feeling hungry, drink a cup of water first and then reassess. Chances are that you’re thirsty instead of truly hungry. (If the hunger persists, of course you should eat.)
The body will enact your hunger drive to get the water it needs. (Sneaky)
You know the rule: drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day for your good health. Like other things, though, you don’t need to overdo it. Just do enough. More is not always better.
Get these personal health goals down, then try something new or more advanced.
Conclusion–Eat right, get and stay hydrated, move enough, and sleep well each night are crucial to ensuring that you achieve your best health ever.
Need more self-care tips including info on incorporating more laughter into your day, head on over to A Cup of Positivity on Facebook join the discussion.