New Year, New Goals: 5 Resolutions for 2021 | West Suburban YMCA

New Year, New Goals: 5 Resolutions for 2021

Jan 05, 2021

A new year is always filled with the promise of positive change and promises to oneself. Many of us are ready to turn the page for a fresh start in 2021 after the stress and uncertainty of the past year.  There are endless opportunities to set new goals for a happy, healthy year.   
“If you are one who makes resolutions at the beginning of each new year, make sure you are at the top of your list.  We are more present, compassionate, and willing to care for and connect with others when our personal needs have been tended to,” suggests Jenni Plym, Assistant Director of Wellness at the West Suburban YMCA. Here are a few resolutions and ways you can implement them in 2021: 
1.  Find new ways to keep active 
  • Telecommuting and virtual learning means more time spent in front of the computer and on Zoom. “Make sure to take stretch and movement breaks periodically throughout the day,” suggests Plym. “If you are at a desk many hours a day, set a timer that reminds you to take a 3-minute stretch at least every 90 minutes, but ideally every hour.  Move your body in all ways opposite to the seated/forward head tilt posture.”  
  • Keeping active can be as simple as taking a walk.  On a busy day, break the walk up into several smaller ones.   
  • Keep yourself accountable by signing up for a new program. The Y has personal training opportunities – including a “New Year, New You” personal fitness program – and classes and training groups for all ages, with our COVID-19 safety procedures at the forefront. 
  • Challenge yourself!  For instance, try a 30-day plank challenge:  start off on Day One with a ten second plank and add ten seconds to each day.  By the end of the 30 days, you’ll be able to hold a plank for 5 minutes!   
2. Eat well 
  • Take advantage of being home more and cook your own meals. Cooking at home can help you eat healthier by reducing fat and sodium and having better control of your portions. Not to mention you’ll save money!  
  • Try new recipes.  Dust off some old cookbooks that you seldom use or find a new recipe blogger to avoid falling into a dinner rut of making the same things over and over.    
  • Don’t forget your favorite local restaurants.  Pick one day of the week to order out and enjoy your meal – without the subsequent cleanup!   
3.  Incorporate mindfulness throughout your day 
  • Start as soon as you wake up.  “Before you rise from bed, do a 5-minute visualization; identify 1-3 tasks you need to complete for the day; imagine completing those with positive feelings and ease,” says Plym.   
  • Over the course of the day, take moments to concentrate on your breathing.  Take long deep breaths in and out for four seconds each and repeat five times.   
  • Before bed, write 5 things you were grateful for during the day. 
4.  Take care of yourself 
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep.  Stop drinking caffeine 6 hours before you’d like to go to bed to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Put away your phone and go to sleep at a reasonable hour so you wake up refreshed and ready to begin your day. Plym suggests winding down with this exercise: “Before falling asleep, envision how you would like to feel and operate through the next day.  Create an affirmation and repeat a few times as you close your eyes and relax before sleep.  For example:  I sleep soundly, and wake feeling rejuvenated and energized.  Bring forth these feelings as you repeat the affirmation.  May sound silly, but I promise it works!”   
  • Make time to enjoy your favorite hobbies.  It’s easy to let these things fall by the wayside during periods of stress or uncertainty, but making time for yourself and the things you enjoy is important for your wellbeing. So pick up that book you planned to read, finish crocheting that hat, or maybe it’s time to learn something new. 
  • Spend time in nature – it’s good for your health! Outdoor activities are not just good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Make a point explore local outdoor areas. There are plenty of parks and trails to explore throughout Newton, and many state parks and properties are only a short drive away. 
5.  Stay connected with family and friends 
  • Even in the age of social distancing, be sure to catch up with the loved ones in your life.  Call a friend, Zoom, or meet up for a socially distant outdoor visit. 
  • Reach out to a friend or family member that you haven’t connected with in a long time.  They will be happy to hear from you! 
  • Don’t forget to spend quality time with those in your own household. Spending lots of time under the same roof doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having attentive, satisfying social interactions. Make dinner together, have a game night with your roommates, or go for a family walk.  
The new year is a great opportunity to reset and create new routines and habits that will keep you healthy in mind, body and spirit. Let’s make 2021 count!