It’s common for people to seek ways to improve their health and happiness in the new year. Selecting a few wellness resolutions is the easy part—but staying motivated can be tricky. This year, increase your chances of success by creating a solid plan of action.
Research shows that people who write down their goals are significantly more likely to succeed in accomplishing them than those who do not. By clearly articulating what you’d like to achieve, connecting to the reason why you’re making a resolution, and outlining how you will do it, healthy new habits can become achievable parts of daily life.
Setting Your Health Goals
When setting resolutions and goals, be reasonable about what you can accomplish. Whether it’s improving mental wellness, mood, and resiliency for your well-being or managing weight to feel healthier and more energized, it can also be helpful to take a moment to align with your personal values, needs, and purpose.
Here are a few healthy resolutions to consider:
- Eat a healthier diet, exercise, and sleep – Take small steps, like adding more fruits or vegetables to one daily meal, walking 15 minutes each day, and going to bed 30 minutes earlier.
- Schedule preventive care – Don’t postpone care. Make sure you are up-to-date on health, vision, and dental exams, screenings, and immunizations for yourself and your family. For the latest health screening recommendations, see these Health Maintenance Guidelines and learn more at sutterhealthplus.org/members/preventive-care.
- Care for mental health – Schedule a virtual or in-person visit with a behavioral health provider as a first step toward improving mental wellness or consider using wellness apps like Sanvello.
- Manage stress – Spend time with loved ones, express gratitude, try deep breathing and mediation, exercise, consume less screen time, and focus on the things that make you happy to reduce stress and improve mood.
- Quit smoking – Take advantage of tobacco cessation telephone helplines, mobile apps, and coaching programs to help when you are ready to quit.
- Seek help for substance use – Find support groups, talk to your primary care physician, or reach out to a behavioral health provider for substance use disorder services.
Creating Your Plan
After selecting meaningful goals for the new year, it’s time to outline the steps you will need to take to accomplish them. First, prioritize the ones that can make the greatest positive impact for your health in the short and long term. Then, identify a few strengths, like the tools and resources available to you, and perhaps weaknesses or barriers you might run into, like lack of time or sustainability.
Write down how long it may take to reach your goals and create a schedule of times during the week you will work toward them. Even add a few ideas on how you will stay motivated. It can be difficult to find time for your new habits, but remember it’s okay to say no to obligations and other activities to make space for new, healthier parts of your life.
Create a list of helpful resources you may have, like a support system of loved ones, fitness apps or wearable devices to help you stay on track, or health tools and resources available.
Keep a journal to track and evaluate your progress along the way and celebrate small wins. Remember, you cannot control everything. Sometimes a goal or strategy needs to be refined to be more realistic, like exercising at least three days a week instead of five and working to lose 10 lbs. rather than 20. Be compassionate to yourself along the way and remember that you can always try again the next day.
Getting Help to Reach Your Goals
Reaching out for support can be an important step toward success. Sutter Health Plus members have access to resources to help accomplish their wellness goals.
The Health Coaching program provides one-on-one training with a personal health coach by telephone to uncover barriers to self-management, set goals, and make healthier lifestyle choices for maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and tobacco cessation—all at no cost share. Call 866-961-8513 to enroll or learn more.
Members also have access to secure virtual or in-person visits for mental health and substance use disorder services with participating behavioral health providers through U.S. Behavioral Health Plan, California (USBHPC). Call USBHPC at 855-202-0984 or visit liveandworkwell.com.