Setting Health-y Goals for 2020
It is only a few days into the new year and new decade and while a lot of us may have already set our personal development, financial, career and relationship goals for the year, it is pertinent to remember that the most important factor in the achievement of these goals is your health- which is your mind and body.
Yes, without a healthy body and mind, attaining these ambitious goals we have set may not happen.
So, here are five health goals we suggest you add to your list of 2020 goals:
Eat (and Drink) Right
A healthy body starts from what we take in. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. A healthy diet should include fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice). Also, limit intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake and reduce salt intake to less than 5g a day (which is less than a tea spoon). Remember, water is the healthiest drink, and your body needs a lot of it to function and be in good shape.
For a lot of people, exercising regularly seems like an impossible task because of the hardwork and discipline it entails. However, there are a few tips one can follow to maintain a consistent exercising regimen. Firstly is to set a goal for what you want to achieve with exercising e.g. lose xx kg in a year, go from size 14 to 10, etc. Then break down this goal into small achievable steps,e.g. Run 200m every day, Take 10000 steps a day, Run on the treadmill for 20 minutes every day, Lift 500kg weights every day.
You can start with simple exercises like taking regular walks daily. Then use an exercise app like Pedometer Step Counter or a Fitbit to set goals for the number of steps you want to take per day, and how track the number of steps you take per day. Achieving your set walking goals everyday will spur you to continue; and with time, you can increase your step limit for each day. You can also ask a friend to join you in this journey so you become an accountability partner for each other, which will make it more fun for you.
Go for Medical Check Ups
Medical check ups is mostly viewed as something for the aged, while young and active people only go hospitals when they are sick. However, with the increasing rate of sudden dates, regular medical check ups is now more important than ever. Going for check ups regularly can help detect something wrong long before it becomes serious and incapacitates a person. General body check ups are recommended at least twice a year, while cancer screenings are recommended once a year or if any tell-tale signs of cancer is observed. Also, vaccinations against diseases like tetanus, hepatitis, etc. should be taken as at when due. Most health insurance packages cover check ups, medical screenings and vaccinations, so take advantage of them to ensure you remain healthy.
The health benefits of resting cannot be overemphasized. As you try to achieve all your other goals, make out some time to rest. Resting relaxes your body, helps you become more productive, makes the immune system stronger and reduces risk of heart disease. At least seven hours of sleep daily is recommended for adults from 18 years and above. However, kids, pregnant women and the aged need more hours of sleep daily. As Tom Roth will say, Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.
As you care for your physical body, you also have to take care of your mental health. Depression has become one of the leading causes of suicide among young people especially. While here are some situations that can lead one to fall apart and give up, it is important to always rise above set backs and keep surging forward. One of the ways to do this is stay positive all the time and adopt a growth mindset. This means never letting negative thoughts take root in your mind, learning from set backs, implementing lessons learned and trying again and again. It will not always be easy to do this, but staying and remaining down is never an option. Always remember that it is not failure if you learn from it and apply the lessons going forward.