What makes or breaks the best-laid “top ten goals for a healthier me”? Inertia, and it can’t wait to wreck all our plans. Counter-solution: stay focused on the positive stuff we will gain, right? To some, that is applicable and realistic, but to others, that sounds easier said than done.
Enter the concept of planning and aiming smart, not just planning to get tough. Read on to find out how gradual changes increase your chances for inner and outer success, more than just wishing for a shot-in-the-dark grand slam.
1. Select a goal and aspire to achieve it.
Write down a healthy target, and make sure it is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. An example of a well-written SMART goal is: “I will (particular activity) to burn at least (X target) calories through (realistic: exercise?) in this (time frame).”
Here are some examples of some diet goals broken down into simpler targets:
Instead of the norm: a huge share devoted to carbs, then some protein, then a so-so bit of vegetables, try to set up in reverse order. Half your plate is for vegetables, then split up the remaining portion between a starch (consisting ideally of complex carbs) and a protein.
Another goal could be to drink a glass of water before eating.
Yet another is that for every hour spent sitting, step out and go for brisk five-minute walks. Sitting for most of the day is the hallmark of a sedentary lifestyle, and it is no help for your cardiac health. But remember what we said at the start: it may feel unrealistic to push yourself to exercise when you’re the activity go-getter, so scattering movement throughout your day might just be what suits you. Doing the above will help you achieve a total of a 40-minute walk.
There are many reliable reports on how flossing daily is strikingly related to a longer life expectancy. Flossing helps you in two ways: it reduces the risk of gum disease, and may even prevent heart disease.
Now here’s something else to make you put that dental floss beside your toothbrush: there is some evidence linking bacteria found in a common type of gum disease to dementia. Just the same, many scientists, for now, can only say there’s enough of a connection to persuade everyone not to take chances. So, try to have healthier gums by incorporate flossing into your dental routine.
3. Get a healthy amount of sleep.
The stuff of nightmares for fitness lovers: getting a near-fatal stroke at a relatively young age. But similar news made the rounds of social media some weeks ago; a fitness instructor (who is also a family man, too) pointed to his stroke’s root cause in his 6 hours of sleep or less.
There is no way around your body’s request for 7 to 8 hours of sleep to repair cells. Try going to bed five minutes earlier each night (or just every few nights, if you find it tough). The point is to hit the seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.
4. Make your social network (the actual real-life variety) add value to your lifestyle.
Tone down on TV and online gaming and devote it to developing better social connections. A good number of people nowadays describe social networking (allotting time for family and friends) as a time-consuming effort.
Nevertheless, these real-life investments are worth the effort when it comes to getting support to be able to face life-changing events (family issues, unemployment, a life-threatening disease, etc).
Sometimes lifelong friendships start with mere effort to improve your communication with them (start with e-mail, phone or in person) by having a great story to share. What makes a great story? It builds connections, it’s a motive to collaborate, or that it simply implies concern and empathy.
We could go on and on with great small steps you can take to start a healthy lifestyle. But remember, the lifestyle itself would be just a symptom of your success. The goal and target is a more meaningful time for people who matter to you, and this is possible because you are healthy, you can focus, or put effort into reciprocating them. But it’s easier for your brain to process a healthy lifestyle by breaking it down into SMART goals and aspiring to achieve them.