New Year’s Resolutions, the end of another year, the end of a whole decade. This year, the last couple of weeks have people looking at their habits, goals, and accomplishments in a whole different light. Whether you’ve been working on your health consistently for a while now, or have run into some health hiccups that have left you looking for a change, setting health-related goals in the new year is a great idea. Setting heart-healthy goals is even better. Cardiovascular health is a critical component of overall wellness. So before you set those weight loss and nutrition goals, let’s look at how you should approach setting heart-healthy goals for 2020.
At your annual physical, take some time to examine your health over the last year and be honest about where you’re at right now. Knowing your starting point goes a long way toward setting goals that you can stick to, and that works for you.
Consult With Your Doctors
Talk with your doctors about what might be good exercises or dietary changes to make as starting points. Creating a plan informed by your primary care provider or specialists such as a cardiologist will help you truly focus on what you can control best, what needs to be addressed first, and keeps in mind where your limits are. It prevents you from biting off more than you can chew physically and potentially damaging your health instead of supporting it.
Set Tracking Metrics
As with most goals, in order to track the progress, you need to have something to measure against. Set some metrics to determine how you’re doing against where you want to go. If one of your heart-healthy goals for 2020 is to run a marathon, a half marathon, a 10k or a 5k, start with a Couch to 5k program. Slowly increase your mileage and use distance, pace, and endurance as metrics to determine how you’re doing. If weight-lifting is part of your cardiovascular health plan in 2020, keep track of how heavy you’re lifting, how many reps, etc. Whatever your goals are, set specific, measurable metrics to help keep you on track and give you a reasonable, consistent view of your progress.
When you hit your goals or hit milestones toward your goals, stop and celebrate! Celebrate with something that supports your healthy lifestyle, like trying a fun new recipe or visiting that new, health-focused restaurant in town. Buy yourself something to expand your mind like a book or workshop. Whatever entices you, use it to help fuel your heart healthy goal-chasing and pause to really, genuinely celebrate how far you’ve come. Positive feedback goes a long way toward goal accomplishment.
Reinforce Your Healthy Lifestyle
Even outside of your heart-healthy goals for 2020, finds ways to reinforce your healthy lifestyle. Try new activities that might spark a new passion for physical fitness, source, and experiment in the kitchen with recipes and ingredients you’ve always wanted to try. Choose wisely when you eat out and consider what you fill your time with, who you surround yourself with. If you cultivate a community, environment, and routines that help support and celebrate your healthy lifestyle, staying committed will be that much easier.
Whatever your 2020 brings, the staff at South Denver Cardiology is here to support you in all your heart healthy endeavors!