Today is World Health Day! It's a good time to think about your wellness goals. "Wellness” covers a lot of ground, but here I’m referring to physical and mental health. Chances are you have a vague idea of these goals and fit in a little exercise here and there when you have time, or have played around with meditation and journaling but never stuck to it for more than a few days. This is where planning comes in. You should plan steps to reach your achievable goals like you would at work, for your finances, or any other part of your life. The Achiever II Planner can help with that!
1. Record your goals!
I know, I’ve said this in nearly every blog post where I talk about goals...and I’m saying it, again: Writing or otherwise recording your goals and keeping them easily accessible helps you commit to them. Schedule days and times for your actions that will help you achieve your goals -- exercise type and time/quantity, meal plans, self-care routines, and anything else that helps you maintain your physical and mental health. For all of these, schedule when it works best for you. If an expert tells you its best to work out in the morning but your circadian rhythm and schedule lean more toward afternoon or evening workouts, do that.
The Achiever II Planner has several layouts to help you plan your goals and the actions needed to achieve them. Use our monthly layout (above) to plan the days and times you will be active, then use our weekly layouts to put them on your daily list. You’ll see that the planner also has layouts specifically designed for wellness and habit tracking.
2. Make time for fitness.
Everyone is so busy with work, kids, and differing schedules that it can be tough to fit in exercise. The Achiever II helps you prioritize your workout schedule so you can make the time. Even if you can only fit in a quick 15-minute walk around the block, that's better than nothing and will often give you a bit more energy. You may also find that you can get exercise in around other tasks: do a 10-minute morning Pilates workout after you wake up or walk with a friend instead of (or before) meeting at the coffee shop, for example.
Use Achiever II to not only plan your workouts but also record them. For every week in the planner there is an additional layout for you to record your workouts. By using this tracker, you will see your improvement over time, which will also encourage you to keep going. As the old adage goes, “Nothing succeeds like success.”
3. Don't try to go from nothing to everything at once.
I personally have fallen into this trap many times, and I think I've finally learned that trying to create several new habits all at one time can be overwhelming and make me quit. Instead, incorporate one or two new habits at a time. You’ll find that it’s easier if you are consistent with a few new habits before adding more.
Another biggie: If you're of "a certain age," like me, you will probably find that you don't bounce back as quickly as you used to after that first big workout in a while. Take it easy and don't hurt yourself. Start with easier workouts -- walking, easy swimming, challenging but not exhausting weightlifting. Maybe plan for three days a week at first, then after a few weeks work up to four, etc. Make sure you include rest days so that your body and mind can recover.
4. Plan strategically.
Saturday and Sunday appear to be when people plan their week and month, but if a different day works better for you, do it then. If you work weekends, you may want to plan on a day you have off during the week. Do you have a distance, time, or weight-lift goal for the week or month? Incorporate that into your planning. If you want to swim 20 miles a month, that may mean 1 mile for 20 days, which averages 4-5 miles a week. Is that achievable, both in time and ability? That may be an easy or impossible swim schedule for you, so think about what will challenge you without forcing you to obsess or develop unhealthy habits regarding exercise. You can then increase your goal little by little every month.
You can also add weight loss goals but be wary of placing too much emphasis on that number. Tracking your measurements every month is a great way to see your progress. You may find you lose inches and not much weight – that means you’re adding muscle! Recording your weight each month or every few weeks can be helpful but try not to focus too much on that number. It can frustrate you and derail your success.
5. Track your habits.
What habits are you trying to create to become healthier in mind and body? Ideas include but are certainly not limited to:
- Running, walking, other cardio exercise
- Weightlifting, body weight exercises
- Water intake
- Fruit/vegetable intake
- Amount of sleep (try for 7-9)
- Adding an activity you enjoy (hobby, sport, reading, etc.)
What works best for your goals, schedule, preferences, and abilities? You may start with walking, then work up to running. Or you may stick with walking and adding other moves. After getting used to a routine, you might add body weight exercises and meditation. Play around with different habits and if there are some you absolutely do not like, replace them with something else.
6. Don't compare yourself to others.
With everyone sharing photos (often using filters) on social media and extremely edited pictures in print media, it can be very difficult to not compare yourself to others. We've all heard that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but that's not really accurate. Some have illnesses that sap their energy, others have more than one job, still others have children they are caring for on their own -- and yes, often people fall into more than one of these and other categories. Chair yoga or using canned soup as weights for a few minutes each day is better than doing absolutely nothing, and you'll feel better having done something to improve your health.
Another way to help avoid the inclination to constantly compare ourselves to others is to record daily gratitude in the Achiever II Planner. Choose a number of things you are going to be grateful for each day. I use five, but it can be more or even just one. Writing these down can help us stay grounded. There may be days your list includes one of my favorites from a child: “You know it was a good day if you didn't hit or bite anyone.” Even when it's hard, try to find something to be grateful for each day.
7. Remember nutrition.
Eating healthy foods is critical to both your physical and mental health. There are so many specialty diets out there that I’m not even going to try to address any specifics, but two common elements among them seem to be drinking enough water and eating enough vegetables. Whatever type of food you eat (or want to eat) to give you energy throughout the day, you can use the meal planner in Achiever II. There are so many advantages to pre-planning meals:
- Experience fewer “What am I cooking for dinner?” days.
- Order takeout or go out to eat less often, which is better for your health and your budget.
- Save money by using your supermarket’s weekly flyer when meal-planning so you can take advantage of healthy food and staples when they’re on sale.
- Plan around busy nights by making a double batch the night before.
- Defrost food slowly in the fridge instead of last-minute microwave defrosting because you know when you will need that item.
8. Don’t use finances as an excuse to do nothing.
Gym memberships can be expensive, and sometimes you don't have one convenient to you. I love swimming, but when I visit my mom for a few weeks at a time, the closest pool is over 30 minutes away -- not very convenient, especially in Upstate NY winter weather. Instead, I use free walking videos on YouTube. I also use free Pilates videos on YouTube. Look around online -- it's amazing how many wonderful free workout videos you'll find! You can also buy a few dumbbells for home or do bodyweight exercises. Please don’t use money as an excuse to do nothing. (Yes, I’ve been guilty of that in the past, too.)
9. Don't forget your mental health.
I previously mentioned a few ideas regarding ways you can improve your mental health, but you probably have more. Think about what helps you calm down and feel better about life in general. For me, meditation and journaling help quite a bit, and I include breathing exercises in my meditation. Others may find yoga great for both their physical and mental well-being. Generally speaking, most exercise is beneficial for your mental health as well as your physical health.
You can find self-reflection pages at the end of each month in your Achiever II planner. Take the time to think about what worked and what didn’t in the past month. This is where all those trackers and layouts come in handy. Go back and check what you were able to achieve and what fell off the radar – and don’t beat yourself up for not doing everything you planned. Life gets in the way and very few people achieve everything they’ve planned for a month, especially if they are challenging themselves. Perhaps you tried to do too much, or you had Covid, or your child was sick. You will see that in your planner and will mention it when you gauge your monthly progress.
As with other habits, don't compare yourself to others. Meditating for 10 minutes a day can do a world of good, and you don't have to surround yourself with flowers and specific music or meditate for an hour, unless you want to. The kind of meditation I find most helpful focuses on breathing, noticing when my thoughts are distracted so I can refocus myself. That's it. There are many mindfulness techniques out there, check them out on Google. If you find meditation isn't for you, try something else. I've talked a lot about walking already, but a walk in nature, without texting or listening to anything other than your environment, can be very uplifting.
I hope this has encouraged you to start, restart, or update your wellness plans. Honestly? Just writing this blog post has encouraged me to be better at scheduling my swimming so I'm not just going occasionally. Sometimes we know something is good for us, and we know we feel better afterward, but we need a little push to actually do it.
If you are working on goals of any type, we recommend our Achiever Planner II. Available in two sizes Undated A5 Planner and Undated B5 Planner in several colors, it has everything you need to envision, track, and review your goals no matter what method you use!
No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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