New Year’s resolutions tend to follow the same drill – we set a goal, watch the ball drop at midnight, and then drop the ball on our healthy habits about two weeks later.
That’s probably because when it comes to resolutions, people think bigger is better (“New year, new me!”). But lofty declarations on Dec. 31 don’t exactly translate into healthy habits. It’s the smaller steps that lead to real change. Achieving your health goals is about patience and commitment, whether you’re working to burn off post-holiday weight, improve your sleep quality or train for your first 5k.
World-class track and field athlete Brenda Martinez is no stranger to patience and commitment when it comes to sticking to goals. Here, she shares some daily tips to help keep your New Year’s resolutions active all year long.
1. Positive affirmations: If you can go there in the mind, you can go there in the body. I repeat positive phrases to myself throughout the day – “I can do this.”… “I am strong!”… “Believe in yourself!”
2. Visualize your goals: I’m a very visual person so I keep a vision board with my ideal daily schedule that I want to stick to in plain sight to hold myself accountable. If you are also a visual thinker, this is a great way to make completing tasks and goals even more satisfying.
3. Good energy: I make sure I surround myself with positive energy. It can be hard to separate yourself from negativity but this is a must in order to achieve your goals.
4. Play the long game: I set short term goals and focus on them, but am always mindful of my ultimate goal. Try to focus on the journey and not the end result.
5. Make your goals work for you: Set goals that are important to you, not someone else. Never compare your goals to other people’s goals!
6. A good night’s rest: I need to make sure to sleep eight hours per night. I feel productive when I start my day by 6:30 a.m., so it’s lights out for me by 10:30 p.m. Consistency is key.
7. Whole health: As I get older, I need to be more conscious of my nutrition because diabetes runs in my family. I make it a priority to keep this in mind in my day-to-day diet. Consider your personal whole-health picture when managing things like sleep, nutrition, exercise and mindfulness.
8. Be creative: I always try to make time for myself to make things that bring joy to my life. I enjoy doing DIY projects. Find what makes you happy and make time for it.
9. Don’t forget about self-care: I need to remember that self-love and self-acceptance are important. I can’t be harsh on myself when I fall short of my goals. Taking time to relax and refuel to make sure you don’t burn yourself out.
10. Don’t forget about others: I strive to better my relationships by calling and reaching out to family and friends. Make sure to check in with others to see how they’re doing or if you can support them in any way.
Bonus tip: If you’re having trouble knowing where to start or holding yourself accountable, the Attain by Aetna app can help. Make sure you have notifications turned on to receive helpful reminders.
(Information from aetna.com)