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New Year, New You: How to Stick to Your Health & Wellness Resolutions in 2021

If you didn’t stick to your resolutions this year, well, blame 2020 and not yourself. In fact, maybe those resolutions shouldn’t even count at all, considering this year was just ridiculous. Luckily, things are starting to look up! We’ve made some pretty substantial progress on a COVID-19 vaccine and are becoming better equipped to treat the novel Coronavirus. 2021 won’t mean an immediate end to the global pandemic — and we should all still be doing our part to stop the spread — but the new year is right around the corner. And it can still be the fresh start all of us desperately need. 

Personally, I’ve never been the greatest at goal-setting or sticking to my New Year’s resolutions, but it’s something I really want to work on in the upcoming year. Health and wellness resolutions are the perfect place to start! After all, there’s always something we can do to improve our well-being and happiness. It’ll look different for everybody, but no matter what your new health and wellness resolutions may be, it’s important to come up with ways to maintain and achieve those goals. Read on for five ideas of ways you can better stick to your new health and wellness resolutions in the new year.

Set fulfilling goals

Before diving too deep into how to stick to your goals, it’s important to note that you should feel passionate about them! We face so much external pressure to live up to society’s standards, whether that’s looking a certain way, keeping up with social trends, or curating a perfect-looking life online. Because of all this, it’s of the utmost importance to set realistic goals that are entirely your own. Don’t let anyone tell you how to be!

Dream big, but don’t be afraid to start small. Make sure every intention you’re setting will serve a valuable purpose in your life. Starting small and truly taking your time to dig into your new health and wellness endeavors will allow you to build up confidence over time. Think about it: as you begin succeeding at smaller challenges, you’ll feel prepared and ready to naturally progress to the next — and often more difficult — tasks. 

So, what are some realistic health and wellness goals? Some examples include getting more exercise, making room for meditation and mindfulness, enriching your diet with more healthy foods, taking social media breaks, spending more time outdoors, and getting more sleep. Remember, these are just a few ideas to get you started! Everyone’s New Year’s resolutions will look different, especially when it comes to well-being. Personally, I plan on attempting to get more sleep and being more mindful come 2021… wish me luck! 

Create a plan

You’d think I’d have learned this one by now, but New Year’s resolutions are something we must fully integrate into our lives in order for them to come to fruition. In years past, I’ve come up with resolutions that seem achievable, but come February those goals seem to magically disappear because life gets busy. 

This is why, in order for your resolutions to be a lasting success, it’s helpful to come up with a plan or routine that keeps your goals at the forefront of your life. Maybe that’s creating a concrete schedule of sorts that lets you set aside designated times for working out, or for meditation. Or it could involve setting screen time limits on your phone in order for you to get to bed at an earlier time each night. Or it might be creating weekly task lists and/or writing everything down in a planner. However you chose to go about establishing your resolution routine, stick to that plan and you’ll see results! 

Find ways to hold yourself accountable

Accountability is huge when it comes to upholding all of your New Year’s resolutions and all of the promises you made to yourself. Being accountable is something a determined goal setter should practice right from the start.

How? Well, one idea is holding yourself accountable to your commitments via a written or verbal promise to friends and/or family you don’t want to let down. These are your resolutions, of course, but making people aware of your goals and letting them cheer you on as you strive to accomplish them isn’t ever going to be a bad idea. 

Want to gain more support? Try posting updates of your health and wellness journey on social media! Or, if you feel that’s too public, you can always make a more private promise to an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will help keep you committed to your goals while you simultaneously help keep them committed to their own. 

Finding this kind of partner means finding someone who is ready and willing to help coach you and aid you in whatever ways you two decide. This could mean the two of you go grocery shopping together, work out together, meditate together, and more. Or, maybe the two of you aren’t able to be physically near each other because of COVID, so you simply text each other updates about your progress. Whatever you decide, the best part about having an accountability partner is that it’s a two-way street. You’ll get to be each other’s cheerleaders and help them achieve their own goals too! 

Learn from your past and your mistakes 

I know, I know. The whole reason we set goals and come up with resolutions every year is to move forward, not backwards. Out with the old and in with the new, right? Well, don’t discard your past just yet: it can help to look back and decipher the “why” behind wanting to make these health and wellness changes. Being intentional about how the goals you set will allow you to formulate a practical path towards accomplishing them. 

Ask yourself questions like: What’s missing in my life right now? What’s worked for me in the past and what do I want to let go of? What are reasonable ways I can reach my goals? What do I hope to gain in the future from taking the time to better myself? Moral of the story here is to let the past propel you forward into the future and do your old self proud. 

It’s also important to remember that the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line. It’s completely OK if you make some mistakes while attempting to stick to your resolutions. We actually tend to learn the most from our mistakes! We’re only human. So, any time you fall short, just consider it a step toward your goal. Learn whatever lessons you’re meant to learn from your mistakes and use those lessons as fuel to push you farther. 

Measure your progress

One of the most convenient things about setting new health and wellness goals is that most of the time, they’re measurable. You can easily track the progress you’re making and really see all your hard work paying off. For tackling those fitness-specific resolutions, consider investing in something that will track your workouts like a Fitbit or some other sort of step tracker. There are also hundreds of apps you can download on your phone that will walk you through workouts, meditations, (healthy) meal prepping, stress management, and so much more. 

Measuring your 2021 resolution progress will allow you to see the hard work you’re putting in pay off. And who says you can’t reward yourself along the way?! That’s right, you don’t have to wait until you’ve accomplished all you set out to do before you treat yourself to a little something special. Health and wellness changes are often incremental; there’s always going to be something you can work on. So, to motivate yourself to keep at it, you should acknowledge any and all successes while en route to a goal. Treat yourself to that favorite meal you’ve been craving or that new book you’ve had your eye on after a hard workout. Blast your favorite song each time you reach your step goal for the day. Share your new stress reduction or mindfulness practices with friends. Whatever a reward looks like for you, indulge in it! 

Of course, we have to get through 2020 before we can really dive into our health and wellness goals for the new year. Stay safe out there and (as different as it may feel this year) enjoy the holiday season! 2021, here we come. 

Rylie Walsh is a senior majoring in Communication Studies and English at Loyola Marymount University! She is President of Her Campus LMU and is also a Her Campus National Writer & Lifestyle Section Editor. When she's not reading or writing, you can find her hanging out with friends, exploring Los Angeles, or enjoying her all time favorite dessert: a freeze from Pressed Juicery.
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