Self-improvement may be one of the most universal goals that we share with one another all over the world.
Every single person at some point has put in the work to better themselves in some way. Whether it’s a physical journey towards fitness or mental endeavor looking for a little more happiness or calm, working to do better and be better has been a common goal for us all.
It can be exciting to set goals in order to improve certain parts of your life. Following through with said goals though? That’s where it can get tedious and we may find ourselves falling off the “new me” wagon.
Whether your goal this year is to eat healthier, get fit or even just keep your immune health strong, we’ve got some tools and tips that you can use to start on the right foot and crush your goals.
Immune Health Goals: How to Build a Strong Immune System
If you want to avoid the toll of seasonal woes or just want to strengthen your defenses, it might be a good time to zero in on improving your immune health. Since our immune response functions as a system, there are a few different approaches you can take to help improve overall immune health.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep plays a huge part in regulating immune function. Studies suggest that the normal sleep-wake cycle may promote cytokine production and even help move T cells to the lymph nodes for improved immune function.1 Additionally, Eric Olson, MD explains that lack of sleep may even lengthen the amount it takes for immune recovery. Looks like a little shut eye can go a long way.
Add Immune-Supporting Foods to Your Diet
Load your plate with foods high in vitamin C like spinach, strawberries or citrus fruits for added antioxidants. Reach for tuna or salmon for vitamin D and yogurt or lean meats for zinc for added immune cell production.
Add Elderberry to Your Daily Routine
Elderberry is packed with antioxidants, bioflavonoids and free-radical fighting agents. It’s not something you’ll usually find in the grocery store, but it does come in many forms such as syrups, gummies and capsules. These convenient forms make it simple for this ancient remedy to fit easily into your day-to-day.
Gut Health Goals: How to Support Healthy Digestion
Digestive woes are never a good time. If you’re looking for a little less discomfort, a few changes here and there may help you get back on the right digestive track.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated—especially with water—is one of the easiest ways to promote digestive health. Water helps with nutrient absorption and can also help with breaking down foods. Drinking water also helps with waste removal and can even promote joint health by encouraging synovial fluid production. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should aim to drink 15 ½ cups of water a day, and women should aim for 11 ½ cups.
Try Kombucha or Apple Cider Vinegar
These fermented friends bring some helpful bacteria and benefits for overall gut health. Kombucha is a fermented tea made from SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and is loaded with probiotics and antioxidants. Kombucha comes in many flavors which makes it enjoyable for most and can help with hydration as well.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is another great choice to improve digestion. It acts as more of a detox or cleansing agent due to its high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like acetic acid, iron and polyphenols. ACV can be taken on its own, worked into delicious recipes and can even come in convenient capsules for on-the-go support.
Weight Loss Goals: How to Manage Healthy Weight
Healthy weight can impact more than just the way you look. Weight management can affect your joint health, digestion, mental health and even more. Try these healthy weight hacks to jumpstart your journey.
Set a Realistic Diet
While fad diets may help with short-term weight loss, they aren’t a realistic long-term solution for managing healthy weight. A good rule of thumb to live by is “everything in moderation.” Meaning cutting your creature comforts completely doesn’t have to happen, just be sure you’re monitoring calories and including a larger amount of nutrient-dense foods.
Find healthy foods that you enjoy and keep those stocked up. If you have healthy snack options that can sit out, place them on the counter so you turn to those options when you’re hungry. Be sure to place sweets or unhealthy choices further back in the pantry so they’re more out of sight and out of mind.
Try Carb Blockers or Fat Burners
Weight control nutrients pair well with a healthy diet and exercise. While you can’t rely on them solely to reach your weight goals, they can work well when you have a healthy lifestyle. Metabolism stimulators may help you burn more calories and carb blockers help break down carbohydrates to support healthy body weight. The trick to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume, so these types of supplements may help keep you on track.
In order to lose weight, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 3.3 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week.2 Try walking for an hour a day for 5 days and track your progress throughout the month. If an hour is pushing it, try starting out at 15-20 minutes and go from there. You can also add weights or try jogging to up the intensity and help get your weight loss goals moving more quickly.
Fitness Goals: How to Stay Fit
Fitness goals can seem intimidating, but don’t let them scare you. Getting started is half the battle so you’re already doing great! These little fitness hacks may help you start out strong for a solid workout routine.
Set Smaller Goals at First
It’s good to have a bigger long-term goal—be sure to keep that in your back pocket—but for starting out it may help to set smaller, more achievable goals and go from there. This can be anything from walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week to making sure you stand up and move for 10 minutes every hour or simply using the stairs instead of an elevator. Once you hit your smaller goals, start setting larger ones and keep going! That way you can see improvement in your fitness journey as you go.
Add New Exercises
If you find a workout you enjoy, stick to it and find ways to challenge yourself. If you love to walk, try walking with small weights and move your arms to add a little more muscle. If you have trouble with joints, aim for low-impact workouts that are less stressful for the body. Be sure not to push yourself too hard—if something hurts, don’t do that exercise. There are likely alterative workouts or stretches that work just as well.
Set a Routine
Routines are the secret weapon for sticking with a habit long-term. Be sure to set time aside and really stick to that schedule. If you need someone to hold you accountable, recruit a friend or family member to come work out with you. Set timers so you won’t forget to go and be sure to have a small reward for yourself when you’re done like 30 minutes of reading, taking a bubble bath or watching your favorite show. Try not to reach for comfort foods, sweets or anything that may sway your progress… at least not every time.
Routines and Success
No matter what your wellness goal is, as long as you create a plan and stick to it, you’re going to see a lot of positive changes. Set your goals by asking yourself what changes you want to see, then put together a to-do list in order to achieve those goals. Hold yourself accountable and be diligent about the tasks you want to complete in order to get to where you want to be. Above all, be kind to yourself. If you miss a workout or eat a sleeve of Oreos, it’s okay. We’re not perfect, and you’ll have another chance to try again.
We hope these goal-setting tips and habits help with your resolutions and wellness journey. If you liked this article, you may also enjoy The Importance of Routines and Low Impact Indoor Workouts for Everyone.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 463(1), 121–137. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
2. Donnelly JE, Blair SN, Jakicic JM, Manore MM, Rankin JW, Smith BK; American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Feb;41(2):459-71. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333. Erratum in: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Jul;41(7):1532. PMID: 19127177.