People set up goals, particularly when a new year starts or a sentinel event occurs in their lives. Setting up a goal is essential to achieving and maintaining their health and well-being. Best healthy goals are the goals that help you change your habits that, in turn, lead to a healthy state of mind and body.
When we talk about healthy goals, we focus on losing weight most of the time. But, weight loss should not be our goal; instead, we should focus on action steps that will help us reach a healthy state of mind and body. For example, you make a goal to clean your basement. If you put in all your effort, you will be able to clean your basement, but that does not end here. If you do not change the behavior (learning to keep things in their place after use, etc.) that led you to a messy basement, it will happen again, and then you will have to clean the basement again.
Weight loss is just like this. You can do a fad diet, crazy boot camps, fasting, and you will be able to lose weight, but if you do not change the behavior, you will gain the weight back again, and you will do the diet again. To have a lasting effect, we need to develop healthy goals that will change our bad habits. Our goals should focus on these habits and not the outcome.
Here are 10 Best Healthy Goals to help you develop healthy habits, which help you reach a healthy state of mind and body.
1. “Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables” is one of the important of the 10 best healthy goals.
One of the best ways to be healthy is to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
Fresh fruits and vegetables have a higher amount of dietary fiber. They are low-calorie-density foods. You can eat a lot more quantity but still not take in too many calories.
Research shows that a diet based on plants may significantly reduce heart disease risk factors, such as obesity and diabetes [1, 2].
If you are just starting out eating fruits or vegetables, start by adding one serving of your favorite fruits or vegetables to your daily diet. Ultimately, try to reach the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day . Here are some ways you can achieve this goal:
2. Avoid Sedentary Behavior
The new WHO 2020 physical activity guidelines make a clear distinction between “sitting” versus “sedentary behavior. Although “sitting” is the most used term to describe inactivity in several national guidelines, it does not reflect the true meaning of inactivity. A person with a disability may be referred to as sitting, but that does not mean he is not active.
Children, adults, pregnant women, the elderly, and a person with a disability should all avoid sedentary behavior . Some of the ways to avoid sedentary behaviors are:
- Let children play with active toys and games.
- Let children do active household chores.
- Take stairs instead of an escalator or elevator if you can.
- Park at the far end of the lot and walk
- Instead of remaining seated during breaks, stand up or take a short walk.
- Get a fitness tracker and aim to reach at least 2,000 steps a day. The goal is 10,000 steps per day.
- Ride a stationary bike while reading a magazine or watching television.
3. Increase daily water intake
You know you need to hydrate — but it’s essential for your health. Dehydration can cause a feeling of fatigue, increased heart rate. Severe dehydration can result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.
Drinking enough water each day can help improve skin tone, boost your energy, relieve constipation, and even aid in weight loss.
Here are some recommendations to make drinking water a part of your routine:
- Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake before eating anything. Many time our thirst mimic hunger. Drinking water helps calm down thirst, and you do not consume any calories
- Drink a glass of water with each meal. Once you associate an action step with the current routine, there is more chance for it to stick.
4. Get enough sleep
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
– Mr. Benjamin Franklin
Sleep is essential to our health, and when you turn in early and wake up early, it’s incredibly beneficial. Poor sleep is associated with a greater risk of depression and anxiety, impaired memory, reduced immune system functioning, and weight gain .
There are many reasons why people don’t get enough sleep. One must focus on their schedule and lifestyle to find out the best ways to improve their sleep quantity and quality.
Decreasing screen time before bed, reducing light pollution in your bedroom, cutting back on caffeine, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour are some simple ways to improve sleep hygiene.
5. Practice meditation
Meditation is an evidence-based way to promote mental well-being. It may be beneficial for people who have anxiety or depression .
Meditation is not all about sitting in a lotus pose and looking at the candle. You can do mindfulness meditation as simple as coloring. These mandala coloring books are a great start to doing meditation in a fun way.
When you live in harmony with your spirit, appreciating all of life and what you have, you discover more joy and kindness in the world. Miracles happen everywhere all the time, but only those who follow the Law of Gratitude seem to notice them.
Here is how one can relax your mind and stop worrying.
6. Lower your alcohol consumption
Alcohol is not needed to have fun. Why not make lowering your alcohol consumption a healthy goal to improve your health?
If you feel stressed, find other healthier options to relieve stress (exercise is excellent). Alcoholic beverages provide calories but few nutrients.
Contact your healthcare provider or locate a virtual treatment program if you want to stop alcohol completely. Cutting down alcohol will lower calorie intake and provide more health benefits than weight loss alone. This is one of the essential achievable health goals.
7. Quit smoking
Cigarettes are highly harmful to your health, particularly your lungs — but tobacco products hurt almost every part of the body. Many resources can help you quit smoking. These are described at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some people worry about gaining weight after quitting smoking. Some people gain weight after quitting, but one can prevent weight gain with healthy choices, such as walking more and eating more fruits and vegetables. Despite how you may feel, it is an achievable health goal.
To learn more ways to watch your weight after quitting, check out these tips.
8. Do strength training (lift weights)
If your goal is to lose body fat, gain skeletal muscle mass, and look skinnier, make strength training (lifting weight) part of your activity routine.
Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone. Lean body mass naturally diminished with age. You will increase the percentage of fat in your body if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose over time.
9. Practice yoga every day
Based on Indian philosophy, yoga includes exercises for both mind and body. Pranayam deals with the mind, and it involves breathing exercises. Asanas are about the body, and it involves physical poses. Modern yoga focuses more on physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.
With the practice of yoga, one can improve general wellness. To learn about the benefits of yoga on health and other resources, visit this NIH site.
10. Avoid procrastination
This behavior affects many aspects of our life including physical and mental stress. Our daily to-do lists and chores involve how we spend our time daily. When we get into the cycle of a things-to-do list/deadlines, we lose track of what is essential and what is not.
- The BROAD study: A randomized controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes (nih.gov)
- Higher intake of fruits, vegetables, or their fiber reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes: A meta‐analysis (nih.gov)
- Fruits and Veggies – More Matters!
- Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Epidemiologic and Experimental Evidence (nih.gov)
- Why could meditation practice help promote mental health and well-being in aging? (nih.gov)