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Stay well in the New Year with health goals that work

Stay well in the New Year with health goals that work
The New Year brings a clean slate and is an organic starting point to make a life change. For many people, that change is often focused on improving health or weight loss. And while this goal isn’t inherently bad, it sometimes can be limiting. Fad diets, get-skinny-quick treatments and unsustainable workout regimens can leave goal setters burned out quickly. So fast that the average goal setter breaks their new year’s resolution after just one month. Carle supports anyone’s pursuit to improve their wellness but encourages a more mindful and sustainable approach to increase overall health.

Carle West Physician Group physician Stephen Hill, MD, FAAFP, shares manageable ways to improve and maintain more complete health.

“It’s important for those who want to focus on their health to really look at the full picture and find safe and manageable solutions to make incremental changes that last,” Dr. Hill said. “You likely don’t need to make huge, sweeping lifestyle shifts that are really difficult to maintain. Think about small ways to improve general wellness to find the best long-term results.”

Five Tips for Improving Health in 2023
  • Set a goal: Setting goals proves to increase successful outcomes. Ensure those New Year’s goals are safe for your specific health needs before committing to anything. Start by incorporating smaller, healthy habits as goals and build on them.
  • Get 150: Minutes of movement that is. It’s critical for any health journey to move your body every day. The average adult should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise and activity per week. That time can break out however works for your schedule but being generally more active daily increases health. When selecting an exercise routine, it’s good to incorporate a balance of weight training and cardio no matter your size or gender.
  • Prioritize sleep: Good sleep has a lot more of an impact on the ability to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle than people expect. Adults should make every effort to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It’s also important to consider your sleep hygiene. This can include making a bed time ritual, creating a quiet, dark room, considering using white noise, and eliminating screen time 30 minutes before bed.   
  • Stay connected with your physician: Creating a consistent routine of visiting a Primary Care physician is an important part of maintaining health. By seeing a medical professional who knows your personal history, conditions and concerns, it’s easier to catch larger issues earlier and look for options to improve your health in a customized way. Schedule your annual checkup to be able to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have and stay up to date on any vaccines you need. Preventing severe illness keeps your health routine intact to keep working toward wellness goals.
  • It’s not just physical: Mental health is something that has come front and center as everyone manages the global pandemic and generally more open about personal struggles. Improving physical outcomes can be greatly stunted without support of a strong mental state. Many physicals include behavioral health screenings and talking honestly with a Primary Care provider (PC)) is a great starting point to identify challenges and discuss solutions.
“My colleagues and I are having a lot more conversations with patients about depression and anxiety after navigating the pandemic and it’s absolutely best to start with your PCP for any concerns you may experience,” Dr. Hill said. “For many patients, improving overall health can also have an impact on behavioral health as well, so they really support each other.”

While they may seem small, these tips support incremental changes that can inspire a true lifestyle change and create lasting results. And with any goal or resolution, finding others who will help you be responsible for your actions might be the extra motivation needed to maintain.

“When truly hoping for a full lifestyle change, partnering with a family member or a friend that keeps you accountable can really make the difference,” Dr. Hill said. “Doing something active or trying new foods with someone you love can keep you on track since those are the people you spend the majority of your time with. “

Talk to your Carle Primary Care provider about your 2023 health and wellness goals and a plan that is safe for you.

Stephen Hill, MD, FAAFP, is a Primary Care physician and medical director of Carle Health Physician Partners. He began his practice with Carle BroMenn in 2019. Dr. Hill attended Southern Illinois University Medical School and is originally from the Bloomington-Normal area.

Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: Care, community, health, Healthy, loss, Primary, Staying, weight