It’s a new year and many of us are feeling the pressure to set lofty goals. One study showed that 62% of adults feel that they have to set New Year’s resolutions. However, history tells us that many of these goals never come to fruition.
Luckily there are simple ways to create healthy habits that don’t require you to turn your life upside down. We’ve created a short list of easy ways to check in with yourself and set personal goals for healthier habits – or to continue the positive ones you’ve already achieved!
Protecting your heart health this year doesn’t have to be hard. We’d like to help you reach your goals this year and make 2024 your healthiest year yet!
- Check-Up with Your Doctor
Whether or not you set New Year’s resolutions, the easiest way to stay healthy is to schedule your next check-up with your doctor. Some of the most common resolutions include improving fitness and diet plans. But you don’t have to tackle these goals by yourself.
Set aside some time to schedule your regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. It takes minutes to schedule your appointment. Meeting with your doctor can help you to assess your current health and learn ways to maintain or improve it.
Your doctor will measure things like your blood pressure and glucose levels to get an overall picture of your wellness. They can also work with you to create healthy habits surrounding physical activity, drinking, smoking, and nutrition. Each of these factors plays an important role in your heart health.
Keep in mind that heart conditions can remain hidden from us. In some cases, individuals don’t know they have any issues until faced with a heart attack or stroke. Even if you’re feeling well now, it’s better to have your heart checked in case underlying problems exist.
- Avoid Being Sedentary
As mentioned above, one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to exercise more. This also happens to be one of the most broken resolutions. This is often because we tend to set unrealistic goals and can’t maintain them.
Rather than forcing yourself to exercise, think of your fitness goals as avoiding being sedentary. According to the Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans, studies show that any amount of physical activity offers you health benefits.
Meaning, that any way you can decrease the amount of time you’re sitting down is an instant win. You don’t have to be hitting the gym or doing hours of cardio to help your heart stay healthy. Try to increase your movement as much as possible and your body will benefit from it.
- Buddy Up
More than just setting realistic goals, having an accountability partner can be the make or break for many people. Studies show that sharing your goals with a friend or partner and updating them on your progress, can increase your chances of reaching them by 33%.
Knowing that the majority of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions within a month, reaching out to a friend for support is instantly setting yourself up for a greater likelihood of success.
Your accountability partner doesn’t have to be a friend or family member, it can also be a professional. Share your goals with your doctor at your next appointment. They can work with you to set incremental goals so you can focus on reaching a series of smaller goals rather than one big one.
- Reduce Stress
A New Year can also bring the stress of big goals, high expectations, and a feeling of time loss. This can cause us to focus on trying to push ourselves even more. Stress has been proven to be directly linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which is why we suggest making your mental health a priority this year.
One study showed that people who face longer, more prolonged and stressful work hours, are 40% more likely to develop heart disease or stroke. Everyone experiences stress differently. Circumstances can result in different reactions in the body depending on the person. But regardless of what the actual situation is, it can be just as damaging to your health if you’re feeling its effects.
Although there isn’t a test that can determine how much stress you’re under, it’s important to listen to your body and take the necessary steps to reduce your stress levels when you can. Scientists are still learning about the effects of stress on the body, but they do know that there is a connection between chronic stress and health-related problems.
Make it a priority to spend some time decompressing every day. Set aside a few minutes to snuggle your pet, listen to relaxing music, or take a soothing bath. You can also try these mindset changes to improve your heart health. Whatever you prefer, this year, try to set aside as much time as you can to focus on de-stressing. Your heart will thank you.
- Focus on More Fiber
Around 33% of adults set New Year’s resolutions around sticking to their diet. However, 92% of adults will not follow their resolutions. For this reason, we recommend setting more obtainable goals for your health such as increasing fiber in your diet.
Rather than forcing yourself into a strict diet, focus on adding more fiber to your daily meals. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. You’d be surprised by how much your diet can affect your heart health.
Increasing your fiber intake has been proven to reduce blood pressure along with the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also improves cholesterol – all of which can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer.
If you can’t stick to the diet, you can also take fiber supplements. Any small improvements you can make will have a positive effect on your health. Sticking to creating change is hard in our fast-paced lives, so be forgiving to yourself and take it one step at a time.
Reach Out for Help
We hope you have a great new year filled with many happy and rewarding moments. It’s never too late to start focusing on your health and these easy steps can help you get there — but you don’t have to go it alone.
Our team of expert cardiologists can help you set goals and stick with them this year. It’s never been a better time to make your heart health a priority.
Ready to take action toward your healthiest year yet? Let us help you get there by scheduling an appointment here.