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Health Tips

New year, new me: ideas on how to set realistic health goals and get back on track

By 02/01/2017 No Comments

It’s a brand new year and for most of us, this means its time to set new goals and intentions! While it’s easy to find motivation to set new goals, actually working out a plan and assessing whether you are meeting your goals is a whole other story. To help you have the best chance of meeting your goals this year, try following the SMART formula. Smart goals align well with health goals because health goals are too easily caught up in our day-to-day living and left to fade away!

SMART Goals

S – specific – what exactly do you want to achieve?

M – measureable – how will you identify the goal has been achieved?

A – attainable –can your goal be achieved?

R – relevant – is your goal relevant and meaningful to you?

T – timely –have you set a realistic timeline for achieving your goal?

If you easily feel overwhelmed by goals, try breaking down a ‘big’ goal into smaller goals. For example, if ‘eating better’ is your overall goal, break this down to ‘eat vegetables at each meal,’ ‘eat a daily serve of omega-3 fats and ‘eat until satisfied and not overly full.’ All of these smaller goals add up to the bigger goal and are easier to track and tick off each day.

Tips for getting back on track

If new goals aren’t priority and you simply want to get back on track to leading a healthy lifestyle, here are some tips to help you on your way:

Diet

Go back to basics and keep it simple – each meal aim for ½ plate vegetables, ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate slow-release carbohydrates and ½ tbsp. healthy fats.

Plan – write a rough guide listing meals and snacks and purchase the foods you need to eat according to the plan.

Fill up on fibre – if your stomach capacity has increased from one too many over indulgences, aim to include a source of fibre at each meal to increase satiety. Some examples include flaxseeds/linseed, chia seeds, oats, raw vegetables, roasted vegetables, legumes, nuts & seeds and whole grains.

Maintain hydration – drinking enough water will assist in regulating hunger and help assisting the digestive system to work optimally.

Exercise

If you have taken a break from your usual routine over the holidays, ease back in by choosing movement to suit how you are feeling:

  • A power walk
  • A long leisurely walk with a friend
  • A new gym class for some fun
  • A restorative yoga class
  • Pilates to rebalance
  • HIIT to energize

 Set an intention to increase accidental exercise such as walking to the post, standing more often and taking the stairs not lift. Every little bit counts!

Sleep

 Sleep is fundamental to overall wellbeing and sleeping routines can be thrown out of whack over the holiday season. Prioritise re-establishing your healthy sleeping habits with these tips:

  • Screens off 1 hour before bed
  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee too close to bed
  • Add a serve of calcium to your dinner plate or enjoy a calcium-rich snack before bed such as yoghurt and fruit
  • Serve vitamin-c rich foods at dinner such as capsicum, cauliflower, tomato and parsley
  • Avoid going to bed hungry or too full
  • Exercise daily and step out for safe sun exposure to top up vitamin D levels

Stress & Relaxation

If you were lucky enough to wind down over the holidays, aim to continue this trend and welcome the New Year in a relaxed way. Try incorporating these practices into your day:

  • Start your day with a mediation or deep breathing exercise, whether it be for 5 minutes whilst in bed waking up or for 20 minutes on a yoga mat
  • Get up from your desk during the day and have fun with some yoga poses and deep breathing to shake off fatigue
  • Aim to check emails every few hours, not every few minutes if this is a possibility for you!
  • Cook more! I believe getting creative in the kitchen and cooking with intuition is almost in itself a form of meditation; it’s the perfect distraction which when followed by mindful eating can really assist with improved mental wellbeing.