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Wellness Wednesday: how to reach your 2021 goals

Posted at 8:52 AM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 10:52:49-05

IDAHO — New Year's resolutions are likely on your mind as we head toward 2021, but if you're not sure where to start or how to reach those goals, we're here to help.

Ashli Fishman, a Nurse Health & Wellness Coach for St. Luke's, says the most common goals are typically health-related.

"Weight loss, stress reduction, eating healthier, moving more, and now with COVID and many of us working from home, many of my clients are setting goals on how to create boundaries between their work life and their personal life," she explains.

Fishman says the easiest way to reach your goal is to keep it simple from the very beginning.

"You want to ensure that your goals are attainable so keeping it simple, keeping it easy, keeping it tiny. Once you know what that long-term goal is, ask yourself 'how can I simplify this goal into incremental action steps?' Fishman says. "For instance, if you want to eat five servings of vegetables per day, you may start with only one serving of vegetable per day. Master that step, and then build from there."

Fishman explains that by going with a step-by-step approach, you'll be able to feel successful and have a sense of accomplishment as you move toward the overall goal. That can give you a boost of confidence and motivation.

After you set your goal and figure out the smaller steps to reach it, the next tip is to find an effective prompt.

"Every behavior or habit at some point had a prompt that set the wheel in motion, and a popular technique that we use is called 'habit stacking.' This is when you connect a new behavior to an already existing behavior," says Fishman.

Say you wanted to start meditating five days a week in the morning. What are you already consistently doing in the morning that you can connect this new behavior to? Fishman says those behaviors can include brewing your coffee or letting your dog out so you should try to meditate for one minute after starting to brew your coffee or while your dog is outside.

One of the next steps, Fishman says, is also one of the most important: celebrating your accomplishment.

"Change happens best when we feel good so by celebrating after you complete an action, you release those feel-good hormones that then wires the new behavior in the brain."

Celebrations can be something small, like fist pumps or silent affirmations, or something big as long as they feel authentic to you.

If you're thinking of going in a different direction with your resolutions, Fishman says these tips aren't just for health-minded goals.

"These can be applied to all areas of life so that might be emotional, physical, spiritual, occupational. At St. Luke's, we believe all areas of well-being are interconnected so what might be happening in your occupational life may be impacting your physical life. If your job is sedentary, how can you move a little more at your job so you can meet that weight loss goal or that activity goal?"

For more tips on celebrating a safe New Year's Eve, click here.