Spring Forward During the Pandemic Series Part 3: Creating Goals to Stay Healthy

By Maisha Ahmed

woman using telescope near a target

Spring is finally here! There’s no better feeling than stepping outside to a ray of sunshine and a gentle breeze, which definitely contributes to a more energized and positive vibe for many of us. The days are longer and warmer, flowers are blooming, baseball games will be in session, and many of us are preparing for our annual spring cleaning as well. Spring is also the perfect time to revisit the goals we have set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. It could be considered somewhat of a quarterly self-assessment check-up or as ways to set or add more goals for ourselves. This week’s blog will focus on setting healthier goals for ourselves during spring.

First Steps to Creating Goals

There is no better way to start something, including the life-long process of becoming and staying healthy, by creating goals. Goals are necessary in that it provides us with motivation, organize our thoughts, visualize long-term plans, and gather resources. But where do we even begin? As silly as this question may sound, how do we even create goals? We can follow a method called SMART:

  • Specific-It’s always important to have specific goals in mind. Some things to consider when making specific goals are what is to be accomplished and when do you want it to be accomplished by. For example, I’d like to lose weight in general but a more specific goal would be to lose 30 pounds in three months.
  • Measurable-There should also be a way to measure process. In terms of losing weight, I usually notice my changes when I feel more energetic, able to endure longer workouts, and my clothes start to feel looser.
  • Achievable-It helps to have goals that are achievable. Some questions that should be considered is if are all the resources and capabilities are available and have others done it before?
  • Realistic-This goes hand in hand with being achievable in which it is important to address if it’s something a person can commit to as well as if it’s reachable given the time and resource
  • Timely-A goal should have a start and finish date as it gives a sense of urgency and motivation. For example, I’ll start going back to the gym on Monday and try to lose at least one pound by the end of the week.

Physical-Wellness Goals and Tips on Achieving Them

  • healthy goalsFind a way to be active every day. A good way to eliminate the thought of not wanting to get up and exercise is to find an active and enjoyable hobby such as recreational sports, gardening, yoga, hiking, and so on. Every little thing does matter! For example, now that the weather is better, I try to park at the furthest spot in the parking lot when I go out or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Spring cleaning and doing chores in general is also a great way to stay active.
  • Increase motivation by enlisting a friend to help you out with your physical wellness goals. For example, I find that going with a friend to the gym makes me feel more comfortable and eliminates all excuses I’ll try to make up in my head to not work out for that day.
  • Staying hydrated is one of the simplest ways to become healthier. Hydration helps with digestion, refuels the body for workouts, boosts energy, and nourishes the skin.
  • Don’t underestimate the effects of a healthy sleeping schedule. Going to sleep on time and getting enough sleep reduces the chances of getting sick, lowers risk for serious illnesses, reduces stress, improves cognitive abilities, etc. I noticed that once I got my sleep schedule back to normal, it was easier for me to lose weight as well since I have more energy throughout the day. I feel more productive and motivated.

Mental Health Spring Cleaning

  • Try to stay active outside more now that the weather is much better. I usually tend to feel more depressed than usual when the days are shorter, the weather is colder, and I am cooped up inside all day. A healthy dose of sunshine could play a big role in improving mood and reducing stress. Using the smart method, try to start off slowly. For example, maybe the current goal is to go outside 30 minutes for three days this week and then another 30 minutes for four days the following week.
  • It’s also a good idea to filter out the “bad”. You might want to use social media less often or perhaps avoid watching or reading the news for a while. These are all realistic and perfectly normal goals. There are some apps that can limit your use of phone or social media or even block some websites.
  • Also please understand that it’s okay to take breaks. Some companies offer a mental health day where employees can take some time off to focus on themselves. Even if you’re working, studying, or concentrating on something for a long period of time, please make sure to take a few minutes to breathe and ease up a bit.
  • Volunteering is also another great way to boost mental well-being. Research shows that people tend to become happier over time after they start volunteering since volunteering offers an intrinsic reward and social connections.