2020 taught us a lot of lessons, including the importance of our health.
Physical and mental health are both things that we can’t take for granted. So as the year winds to a close and we start thinking about how we want to do things differently in 2021, we are sharing some health goals that you can set (and achieve!) in the year ahead.
We’re not talking about any drastic life changes here like suddenly going vegan or becoming a competitive weight lifter. (Though if those are your goals, more power to you!) Instead, we’re sharing our favorite types of goals — small, incremental, easy-to-implement changes that can add up over time to some serious long-term benefits.
Keep on reading for some inspiration for a healthy 2021!
How to set a goal for your health
When you’re setting a health goal, start by thinking about exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Rather than saying to yourself something generic like, “I want to feel better/healthier/stronger,” we’d always recommend getting specific. How, exactly, do you want to feel better? Do you want to focus on your movement? Or nutrition? Your mindfulness practices? The more specific you can be, the better set up you are to actually achieve your goal.
We like to structure our goals using the SMART method, which means they’re specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. To make sure your goal meets the criteria, check that you can answer the following questions:
- What specifically are you going to do?
- How will you measure your success or progress?
- Is meeting this goal in your control?
- Is this goal helping you get closer to the person you want to be?
- What is your deadline for completing this goal?
Another helpful strategy when setting goals is to phrase them in a positive, rather than a negative, way. So instead of saying, "I want to stop watching so much TV", try saying "I want to exercise 3 times a week" or "I want to read a book every month". According to a study, people who phrase their goals towards achieving something, rather than avoiding something, are more likely to succeed.
When you’ve settled on the health goal that you’re going to strive for in 2021, make sure you write it down. And maybe more than once. Put it in your planner, on a sticky note near your workspace, taped to your bathroom mirror or your fridge — any place you’ll see it regularly. Not only does writing your goals down make you 42% more likely to achieve them, but having regular visual cues will also help inspire you when you might start to drift off course.
If you’re looking for some ideas to help get you started, we’re sharing health goals that you can easily implement into your daily life below. We recognize that everyone’s health and bodies are different, so if anything sparks inspiration for you, we’d encourage you to take our suggestions and make them specific to you.
8 health goals you can achieve in 2021
- Get enough sleep: On average, adults tend to require between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Getting less than that can have serious impacts on your performance, mood, and overall health. But everyone’s body is different, so it’s important to discover your own sleep patterns. Make 2021 the year you are well-rested. Start by setting a consistent bedtime and wakeup time, then expand into optimizing your sleep routine.
- Drink more water: Staying hydrated is so important for your overall well-being. It can relieve fatigue, improve your skin, and pump up your energy. Commit to drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day and take notice of the difference it makes. (Snag one of the Ink+Volt Today Organizer Pads for a built-in water tracker right along with your to-do list.)
- Stand up and move at least once an hour: Sitting uninterrupted has some serious health implications like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Make a point in the new year to try to stand up and move a little bit — even if it’s just walking to fill up your water bottle or doing a quick stretch — once an hour during your workday.
- Eat breakfast: Starting your day with a well-balanced meal can help improve productivity, focus, and even help foster a healthy weight as eating in the morning reduces your likelihood of overeating later in the day. Start the new year — and each morning — on the right foot by preparing a nutritious breakfast each morning. (We’ve got some breakfast meal prep inspo for you here.)
- Improve your posture: If you’re sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day, chances are your posture could use some work. Set a regular reminder in your phone to check your posture, or consider investing in a helpful tool like the Upright Go that will help you correct and maintain good posture over time.
- Practice gratitude: Your mental health is *just* as important as your physical health, and a regular gratitude practice is one of the only scientifically proven ways to make you feel happier. Start with a dedicated gratitude journal, or your favorite notebook and some gratitude lists for inspiration and see what a difference the practice can make.
- Eat at the table (not at your desk): How many meals are you eating on-the-go? The simple act of committing to eating your meals and snacks away from your desk can help you become more aware of exactly what and how much you’re eating, which can mean the difference between having a balanced lunch or mindlessly grabbing another handful of chips.
- Adopt regular self check-ins: Checking in with yourself and listening to what your body, mind, and spirit have to say is crucial to ensuring you are staying balanced and healthy. Try starting with a weekly self check-in (we love the Reflection Pad for this exercise!). Take note of how you are feeling, what you feel you need, and what is going well. Then take actions based on those findings. If you are tired, try going to bed a little earlier. If you’re feeling antsy, try going for a walk. The simple act of noticing and accepting how you are feeling — mind and body — is a game changer.