Have you ever set a new year resolution only to be discouraged before February even gets here? Or do you forget what goals you set and don’t ever follow up on them until the next new year? This time of year is a great time to reflect on many of these things that keep us from reaching our goals and focus on things that we can do to make ourselves better. When we talk about health or wellness it is important to look at all of the aspects of a healthy self. Physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and mental health are all components that need to be in balance in order to achieve our goals. We can’t be successful in our physical goals such as losing weight, if we don’t also focus on overcoming emotional barriers. We can’t be successful in our Intellectual goals such as finishing a college degree, if we don’t also focus on our spiritual health and knowing what we believe or what we want in our life.
Each new year as we reflect on the past year and make goals for the coming year, it is important to make sure that we set ourselves up for success. In this article we will discuss 6 components of health and how we can overcome barriers, set realistic goals and strive to become your best self.
It happens every year, we start a diet or a workout routine and do great for a few weeks. Then we start to get really hungry or really tired or really stressed and lose focus. START slow, if you haven’t exercised for a while your body will be sore, you will need more sleep, and need to eat extra Calories (what! extra Calories…I thought I was trying to lose weight). Yes, extra Calories. One of the biggest mistakes is trying to eat a very restricted diet. Some athletes that are training 6-8 hours per day are consuming 8,000+ calories a day. We are not saying you should continue eating junk food and quick foods to make up these extra calories. Focus on fruits & vegetables and good lean sources of protein, such as chicken & salmon. If you are rushed for time, find a protein supplement that you like that is low in fat.
If your goals for 2017 include getting physically health just remember- starting an exercise program can be daunting BUT YOU CAN DO IT!! It is important to find activities you enjoy. If you don’t like running but commit to it for the sake of “losing fifteen pounds” then for how long will you run, or conversely, for how long will the weight stay off?
Whether you are lifting weights, taking yoga classes, starting a jogging group with friends, riding a bike, enjoying a new sport or something as simple as going for regular walks every evening with your family; these steps should start small but be consistent, enjoyable and have a clear replay value.
One step in the right direction of becoming physically health could be going for evening walks. Slowly increase the distance, incorporate hills, take a backpack with some added items for weight, increase your pace – the possibilities are truly endless! For those already active, consider buddying up your workouts to help keep you consistent. And just as importantly, CHANGE IT UP! The mind and body are great at adapting and will quickly change to make any activity less of an energy expense.
Change your workouts up (yes, even your walks) regularly to keep your mind, body, and consistency from any boredom. Mark your workouts on a calendar and check it regularly. Get plenty of sleep. Don’t work out on your rest days. Keep your stress levels low and find reasons every day to enjoy life. Do all this and you will see the changes happening, and more importantly, you will feel them!
Are you a “social butterfly” which is defined by a person who is socially dynamic, great at networking/ conversation, very charismatic, and confident in themselves. Or do you see yourself as more of a “wall flower” someone who always knows what is going on but does not necessarily want to take part, someone who is more shy and kept to themselves? One personality is no better than another- if we all had the same personality we wouldn’t live in the wonderfully diverse world like we do!
However, your social health is your ability to form meaningful personal relationships with others. Whether you have a TON of really good friend’s/ family members that you are close with or you have a small group of people that you can always call on. Another component of your social health is your ability to behave appropriately in social situations. You often times hear the word “Socially Acceptable” but who really defines that that means?
Our social health needs to be in balance just like all other aspects of our health- if you have a fitness goal for 2017- maybe attending the gym with a friend will help or joining a workout group. Connecting socially with others can help you achieve your goal.
So this year in 2017 whether you are a wall flower of a social butterfly think about your personal connections with other- No matter what your health ambitions are, make it your goal to put down the electronics (phones, tables, laptops etc.), step away from the TV and video games, don’t call, don’t text and stop hiding behind the screen. This year make it a point to make more personal connections, face-to- face time (don’t confuse this with “Face-Timing”). Make new Friends, go visit family and old friends near and far in person when possible. Instead of typing an e-mail hand write a letter. Step out of your comfort zone and build new relationships or enhance old ones.
“I can do this; I can do this.” A phrase that sometimes we need to tell ourselves over and over again. Our emotional health, just like the other components of health, needs to be in balance for us to be successful in achieving our goals. There are several ways that we can reset, recharge and find our peaceful place. Everyone is different and we all respond to stress, sadness and happiness in different ways, if you can find this out about yourself you are a step ahead.
Emotional health is defined by being happy with yourself, being self-confident, being self-aware, and being resilient. In the roller coaster of life, there are many highs and low and those who are emotionally healthy are able to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks. Everyone copes differently- some may take a walk in the park and become one with nature, some may sing at the top of their lungs and add a little dance when no one is watching and or listening, and other may find comfort within a higher power.
As you have probably experienced; life is not always a walk in the park or a breeze by the sea! People die every day just like babies are born every day. It is okay to have a “ugly cry” just as well as it is okay to “sparkle with joy.” Choosing your emotional reactions to good and bad situations that life throws your way is how we learn to grow within ourselves and find our inner peaceful place.
So this year in 2017 take time to reconnect with yourself on an emotional level. If life just keeps throwing you “lemons,” don’t get discouraged, seek help whether that is from a close friend, family member or a trained professional! Don’t let your emotions define you or hinder you from living the life you have always wanted! Always remember there is a rainbow after a rainstorm and YOU CAN DO THIS!
Almost every new year we set our resolutions to focus on exterior self-improvement efforts; with the number one new year’s resolution being “getting a better body.” We are so focused on the outside that we often times ignore that other, equally important part of our wellbeing: our mental health.
Your mental health is a condition with regard to your psychological and emotional well-being. You are the only one that knows what is going on in your mind. You know your greatest strengths and your most vulnerable weaknesses. You know the unique triumphs and travails living in your own head. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or any other symptoms- IT IS OKAY TO GET HELP!
You may have heard to word “mindfulness” and to many people it can mean many different things; but in reality it means living in the moment- the here and now. Don’t live anxiously in anticipation for tomorrow or the future- and don’t dwell and hold the past against yourself. Most people apologize to others when something happens; keep in mind it is okay to apologize and forgive yourself too!! One small step to being mindful could be having a positive thought or writing down an inspirational message to yourself each day!
This year, prioritize your mind as well as your body, and make a resolution for better mental health. make it your goal to “be nice to yourself” and have a little “me time” each day. Relax, don’t stress and focus on being the best you possible. When you set your goals this year, make your goals matter and think of small things you can do each day to help you reach your overall goal.
Intellectual…that sounds like such a big, important word. When we say intellectual health we are talking about your ability to learn and gain knowledge. For some people this means getting a higher education, for others it means learning a trade. And even for others it means leaning a new skill or attending a training. Intellectual health can be incorporated into our everyday lives. When we continue to gain knowledge and make ourselves better we will be set up for success in achieving goals. Just reading this article you are affecting your intellectual health.
Some suggestions for the new year could be to try new healthy recipes or trying a new exercise. There are so many options available in our modern world of Pinterest and Instagram, be sure that you are using credible sources. Trying a new healthy recipe that everyone in the family likes can be very rewarding; however, it can also be discouraging. So don’t fret if you don’t find the most amazing recipe on the first try (remember your emotional health). Just eat it and try again next time, but make sure you tag or mark that recipe as a no-go. There are so many options and styles of cooking, maybe there will be one out there that you will enjoy!
Now how about a new exercise. Have you ever been snowshoeing or tried that spin class that looks so fun at the gym? Take a look at your life and things that you enjoy doing. That time you went boating with friends was so fun, maybe kayaking could be your thing. Or the time you went camping and went on a nature walk; it was very relaxing, maybe hiking will become an escape for you. Maybe you are a social butterfly and will enjoy a parks and recreation class or an aerobics class. You won’t know until you try!
So this year think about ways you want to increase your knowledge and skills; try something new! Sometimes it just takes trying something new to find a passion that you didn’t know existed.
Reflect, rejuvenate and refocus. Many people think of spiritual health is being “religion” or going to church- when in reality spiritual health is measured by the amount of peace and harmony you experience in your day-to-day life.
Finding peace and harmony in your daily life can be extremely difficult especially when you think about the crazy world we live in today, which can be dominated by sports, politics, school, social media, money, and the list just goes on…. When reflecting on your life- what do YOU need to do to find your inner peace? Some people may take nature walks and bask in the beauty of the world, while others attend church and connect spiritually with a higher power, and some may even therapeutically play sports or an instrument. There is no wrong or right way to connect with yourself- this is highly individualized and can only be discovered by you!
So this year in 2017 take time to reflect on the previous year, where did you find your peace? Think about all the good memories created and experiences had. Reflect on what you liked about last year and how you can make the new year the best year yet! Spend time in peace with yourself- Savor the little moments that the memories will last a lifetime!
Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later.
It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve swept up the confetti, but it’s not impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick with it.