Getty Images / Christopher Polk / Noam Galai
The beginning of a new year always means that it is a dissolution season: the time of year when people bet on themselves – or bet on a new diet or exercise regime. While we are all about setting healthy goals, it is important to make them realistic and achievable.
If you’re looking for examples, check out Reese Witherspoon’s goals for her own healthy habits. Witherspoon shared on Instagram yesterday that after reading Atomic habits (buy it: $ 12 for paperback, Amazon), she decided to “work towards” some simple goals to get a little healthier. Her goals include starting the day with a glass of water, getting outside in the morning, reading without distractions every day, and going to bed at 6 p.m. 22 in the evening.
These measurable, achievable goals are great ways to get a little healthier in the new year – getting a good night’s sleep can support your heart, weight and skin health, and drinking more water is good for just about every aspect of your well-being. Plus, Reese says she’s just “working towards” those goals, which hopefully means she’s not sticking to an impossible standard. Taking small steps toward better health is usually more sustainable than making extreme promises that you may not have the energy to keep.
“The new year may feel like a natural time to reflect and set new goals, but it’s important to be realistic about why you make your decisions and exactly how you plan to achieve them,” says Jessica Ball, MS RD, Associate Nutrition Editor at eat well. “Divide your goals into small, action-oriented steps, and make sure each step is timed. This will help you be more responsible and set you up for success.” Ball also loves that none of Reese’s goals are related to weight loss. (Check out some of her other favorite non-weight loss solutions for inspiration.)
While Reese’s goals seem manageable, some of us may find Ina Garten’s comment on Witherspoon’s post to be a bit more related. “To quote @reesewitherspoon – it sounds good, but I probably do not do any of those things! LOL !! My formula is easier to follow: 1. Drink bigger cosmos; 2. Stay up late and watch addictive streaming series; “Stay in bed in the morning and play Sudoku instead of reading a good book; 4. Spend more time (for sure) with people you love. In a pandemic, I do what I can!”
We could all endure being generous with ourselves in the new year, no matter what kind of goals we have for our health. Plus, Garten’s decisions have some health benefits in themselves. Number puzzles, like sudoku, can contribute to healthy cognitive health, and if the occasional cocktail brings you joy, you can make it a part of a healthy lifestyle. (Although we probably would not recommend regularly drinking one of Ina’s signature giant cosmos.)
The best part of both Garten’s and Witherspoon’s goals is that they fit their lifestyle and their wishes for the new year. Some of the healthiest solutions should aim to make you feel like you have found a solution that works for you. Ball recommends decisions such as finding the type of workout you really enjoy or finding a new way to unwind. It does not matter what the details are, as long as it works for you!