Every day, we set goals to improve our overall wellness. But what if you could take those health goals you’re setting and transcend them into daily habits?
If you’ve envisioned yourself happier, healthier, and more energized, I’ve put together concrete steps you can take to get there.
The Importance of Setting Health Goals
Goals vary between big and small, achievable and maybe far-fetched. When setting goals, it’s important to do so in such a way that allows you to obtain them and naturally weave them into your daily life.
To create new habits, it can take up to sixty days to make them stick. I’ve noticed that when I try to accomplish huge goals, my efforts to turn them into daily rituals or routines doesn’t manifest the way I’d hoped.
Wellness takes practice. It means different things to different people. Being healthy means being peaceful, serene and joyful in your thoughts and mind–how you respond to events in this wacky world we live in and in your life.
Optimal health should always be your desired outcome. However, life can get in the way of making your health goals habitual.
Recently, I’d endured a major loss in my family and I definitely felt my health slip throughout these stages of grief. I found it a challenge to function day-to-day, finish tasks, and wound up isolating myself more. The work that I love doing became not so enjoyable because I couldn’t give myself the chance to grieve or process the loss. I kept piling on work to avoid feeling and couldn’t keep up with eating well, exercising and lost nights of sleep.
I am somebody who can’t afford to lose sleep nor am I somebody who can over-jam my schedule. I am someone who needs to keep up with those good habits for the sake of my heart, mind, and physical health. I believe this is relative for everybody.
When you’re stressed or emotionally distressed, your heart is one of the first organs in your body that will feel the pain and react.
Life will throw those unexpected curve balls at you, so it’s critical to sustain those habits. Turn your quest for balance and good health into actionable steps that slowly become routines.
17 Health Goals That Will Transform Your Life
Don’t attempt to force habits. It’s OK if it takes a while to really get in the groove and adjust. So, here are the seventeen health goals that you can make into habits to become your healthiest self.
1. Develop Your Morning Routine
How you start your day matters tremendously. The way you greet a morning determines what mood you’ll be in that entire day.
If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, rush to get dressed, shove something in your mouth and hustle to work, you’ll most likely feel rattled.
A morning routine will help you ease into your day and start off on the right foot. If you’ve had a health goal to have more time in the mornings, start in fifteen minute increments. Wake up a fifteen minutes earlier each day until you’re happy with the time.
More time in the mornings means more time and attention to work obligations and people you care most about.
2. Develop Your Evening Routine
An evening routine can consist of reading, Yoga, cleaning and organizing, or doing an exercise.
Winding down is critical for mental health management. Come 7:00 or 7:30 P.M., that’s when you might want to start allowing your brain and mind to relax.
Your evening routine can entail anything that promotes peace and serenity. If something relaxes you and gets you prepared for bed, do that.
To make a health goal into a habit, set a time to stop working. The time I quit working is at 5:30 P.M. I cook dinner and after, my evening routine begins.
Need a little more advice? This guide can help:
3. Walk for Thirty Minutes a Day
At a recent medical conference I’d attended, I learned about meditative walking. The sound of your shoes hitting the ground intervenes in troublesome thoughts. Feeling planted on the pavement anchors your mental and emotional state, keeps you stable.
I walk a couple times a day for my heart health–in the early afternoon and evening to activate my heart rate.
Inactivity is dangerous for anyone, with or without heart disease. A regular routine of walking will decrease stress and increase a peace in the mind.
4. Incorporate More Greens on Your Plate
Over the last couple of years, I created a rule for my plate:
Always have something green included.
Greens, especially dark leafy greens, have a broad array of benefits from healthier skin, vision, and energy to stronger kidneys and organs.
I’d noticed significant improvement in my overall well-being when I incorporated something green even in my breakfast.
Clean eating will lessen all kinds of aggravating symptoms. This is something you’ll want to do over time.
Start off slow by adding greens to your dinner or lunch plate. Any kind of dietary change takes time, some effort and planning. But it’s all worthwhile.
5. Use Aroma Therapy for Stress Management
Essential oils truly are essential to wellness. In times of stress, I will dip a cotton ball into lavender oil, chamomile or eucalyptus and tie it in a tea bag.
Throughout the day, when I’m feeling flustered or rushed, I slow down and breathe in the oils. I’d feel drastic changes to my mental and emotional state and refreshed.
6. Engage in Nature Therapy
There are a variety of nature therapies you can do to lower your stress and anxiety. I recently learned about tree therapy from an international blogger. I tried it over the summer and am still doing it.
It’s originally a Japanese practice called, ‘Forest Bathing’ and it’s radically improved health in people. All you do is surround yourself with trees. The concept is to be free from obligations, effort, and doing.
Don’t hike or count your steps. Just be present. Focus on all five of your senses. It’s revitalizing and energy restoring. Try doing this for ten minutes a day and see how you feel.
7. Inhale Fresh Air Fifteen Minutes a Day
Fresh air opens the lungs, the heart and the mind. It’s a collaborative process with yourself and nature.
Sometimes I’ll sit with my eyes closed in a safe place and breathe in the pine-scented air. I made this a daily habit now because being outside is emotionally and mentally healing.
A benefit of breathing in fresh air is it sharpens your mind and restores your energy, digestive system, and improves blood flow.
8. Try This Simple Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique for Anxiety
A diaphragmatic breathing technique I learned has allowed me to tackle anxiety the second it comes on, thus aiding in cognitive functioning.
If you’re anxious or overly stressed all the time, your system will operate as if you’re always in fight or flight. Deep breathing slows all the systems in your body down. It clears your mind of troubled or worrisome thoughts.
Inhale through your nose four times and exhale, making a sound as you breathe out. Repeat it four times and be wowed by the results. You’ll feel much calmer.
9. Devote 10 Minutes of Stretching in Your Day
Stretching is needed to strengthen, repair, and grow muscles. Every day, I use the Styrofoam roller which you can buy on Amazon or even eBay. I’d never thought Styrofoam would cost so much but it’s worth every penny.
Before and after I work out, I use it and then stretch. I do a fifteen-minute routine right at home on my living room floor.
As someone with chronic pain, I’ve noticed drastic improvement when I focus on increasing flexibility.
Stretching also fosters movement. A long day at work calls for time to decompress and release the stress of your day.
You can also try these simple stretches to relax your body and mind.
10. Take Naps
Within the last couple of years, managers of corporations and other companies have been allowing their employees to take naps in the middle of the day.
Since I’ve added naps to my daily regimen, my productivity increased by seventy percent. Naps are a great way to give yourself the break it needs.
11. Organize Your Home or Work Space for 15 Minutes
Fifteen minutes of cleaning will save you so much time.
Did your old routine used to consist of abandoning those chores during the week only to be slammed with them come Saturday and Sunday? Have you found yourself canceling plans with friends because life feels like such a mess in your home? It’s not a good place to be.
Fifteen minutes of cleaning a night (or morning, whichever works best) will add time to your life. Your home should be your oasis. A clean place is vital for stress management.
12. Morning Pages
You can really do this in the morning or night. Dump your thoughts on paper before you start a work day.
After I’d read the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I tried her morning pages activity. It’s a form of letting go of that added weight that life gives us: career, hobbies, kids, family, worries, burdens, you name it. This technique of free-writing your thoughts should move you away from fear and back to your creative or hard-working self, the one who is fearless in their pursuits.
After I did the morning pages, I wrote a novel in a month and felt extremely accomplished. This type of writing is freeing and will release you from the burdens you feel holds you back.
13. Schedule Moments of Silence
Just ten minutes of silence can have profound impacts on your mental health.
I used to be somebody who needed something to make me happy, something to make me feel OK another day. I basically needed things in my life to be happening or I’d feel insecure.
When I started penciling in moments of silence, I got to the root cause of why that got so out of control, the need and desire to always be seeking something. These moments of silence should give your mind pause, a break from tedious thoughts.
For me, doing this has improved my depression and anxiety astoundingly.
14. Include Writing in Your Morning or Evening Routine
I know this relates to the morning pages but not exactly. This you can do in three to five minutes. I’d been talking about this method of writing for years and it’s finally catching on (yes, I started this).
Try logging what you accomplished each day and what you need to do the next. Create a comprehensive outline showcasing how much you’ve achieved and what else needs attention. You’ll be amazed when you realize how much you’ve done in a day and hopefully will stop being so hard on yourself.
I am very hard on myself, unnecessarily so, and it’s unhealthy for the heart and mind. This approach to writing saved me in a lot of ways.
15. Wake up at a Set Time Each Morning
If you wake up at 7:00 in the morning, always wake up at 7:00 in the morning. A set sleep schedule will keep your circadian rhythm the same, which you want. Then, you’ll be able to predict those dips and rises in alertness each day.
If you have dietary restrictions or want to start eating healthy, keeping your sleep pattern steady and the same will make healthy eating easier.
16. Establish an Invigorating Skin-Care Routine
Whether you’re a man or a woman, have some kind of skin-care routine or time to wash those impurities away.
A regimen promotes anti-aging and will make you feel and look good. Morning and night, try something simple and effective to help you either wind down or wake up.
17. Dry Brushing
The benefits of dry brushing are amazing. If you struggle with anxiety and stress chronically, dry brushing is the way to relax. It’s perfect for increasing circulation, blood flow, and positive energy.
Recent studies show that dry brushing is also beneficial for the nerves. The action of dry brushing eliminates dead skin cells and promotes healing.
A lot is in that list but bottom line: incorporating even the smallest goals and making them habits will transform your health in some way. You can pick and choose which best suit your needs but I do just about all of these daily now. If you’ve fallen off the wellness wagon, try doing a few of these regularly. Turning health goals into habits will transform your well-being in ways you’d never imagined and you’ll feel unstoppable.
Featured photo credit: morgan sarkissian via unsplash.com