Be a wellness champion – both for yourself and for your family or group of friends. You can do this easily by setting achievable goals for holistic physical and mental health.
Don’t take your health for granted. Setting achievable goals around diet, exercise and mental health can help lay a good foundation for improving health both over the short term, while instilling good health habits that your children will take with them into adulthood. For those of you who are not parents yet, you can help your group of friends buy into healthy habits by embarking on this journey together.
Improving health and fitness will ensure that you have good stamina for physical activities. Exercise is also a good way to cope with stress and working closely with friends or family members helps to cement bonds and grow relationships.
In What Areas Should Your Consider Setting Goals?
- Mental health
- Relationships (family or friend bonding and time together)
Guidelines To Get Started
Set suitable bed times
Sleep is an essential component required to rebuild your body and mind for the next day. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. School-going children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep to grow, thrive and learn. Toddlers need even more, about 14 hours per night. Practice good sleep hygiene by starting a bedtime routine. Set a goal to ensure that you and your family or friends get a good night’s sleep at least five nights of the week.
Plan healthy meals and meal times
Fussy eaters may be more willing to try new foods if they are part of the meal planning process. Set a goal to try one new dish from another country at least once per month. Get everyone involved to help select the country and find a healthy dish to try.
Make a goal to share four out of seven meals per week together around the table. Make the conversation positive and share ideas and dreams. Use this as an opportunity to discuss progress around goals.
Aim for five fruits or vegetables a day
Make a chart for each person to track everyone’s 5-a-day fruit and vegetable intake. You can also add glasses of water to the chart to ensure that you are properly hydrated – even when it’s cold and you don’t feel like drinking water. A reward system can be implemented for younger children who are less prone to wanting to eat their 5-a-day.
Set a reasonable step count for each person and see who achieves this on a weekly basis. Most schools don’t allow cell phones, so your child may not be able to track his or her steps daily on their phone unless they have a step counter.
Clock the kilometres of your family or group walks and track this on a physical map (print from or photocopy an old atlas) and see how long it takes you to ‘walk’ from your house to any major city in the country.
Plan physical activities
In addition to walks or bike rides, set at least one additional physical activity to do every week – consider a fun dance competition, backyard soccer or cricket, stationary bike rides etc. Plan these activities for the mornings (where possible) – so everyone is energised and not feeling tired after a long day.
Set limits for screen time
If you currently have free reign on devices, it’s time to consider putting limits in place. Poor management of screen time as been linked to behaviour issues, a decrease in physical activity, fatigue and eye strain, as well as physical problems like neck, back and shoulder pain and headaches. Replace device time with a positive activity – board game evening, a bike ride or taking the dog to the dog park for a run.
Read, read, read
Poor reading is often linked with poor results at school. In adults, we don’t make time to read, even though it is of great benefit. Encourage daily reading time. For parents, start off by reading to your child, then set small goals for him or her to read aloud or silently on this or her own. Monitor the number of pages and set goals and rewards for achievements. This reading ‘downtime’ also gives children time to decompress at the end of the day, without the distraction of tech.