6/19/2019 1 Comment
When you think about setting health goals, it’s tempting to start with ones that are major and
life-changing. There’s nothing wrong with setting big goals, but the best way to make your goals
achievable is by taking smaller actions, one at a time, to incorporate healthier habits into your
everyday life. Doing this successfully starts with knowing yourself - and how healthy habits can
work for you.
Know Your Health Needs
Putting your health first actually starts with knowing what your personal health needs are. The
best way to do this is by getting regular healthcare, including checkups. Seeing your doctor and
dentist gives you a baseline so you know what your overall health is, and where you can
Some people have underlying issues like depression or anxiety and don’t even realize how
they’re related to other aspects of their health. For example, dental health is an area that is
connected to your mental health, and it’s common for people who have depression to also have
poor oral hygiene. There are several reasons why this happens, but part of the problem is
lowered executive function, which is basically what controls decision making and reasoning.
Getting a dental checkup can help you address these issues, starting with getting any dental
work done that’s needed and looking at your eating habits.
It’s easier to stay on top of dental care and other medical checkups when you know what your
insurance benefits are. Staying informed about your health insurance is especially important for
seniors because Medicare plans can change annually. The good news is that many Medicare
Advantage plans, such as those offered through UnitedHealthcare, provide complete health
coverage that includes dental and vision care, on top of access to fitness centers around the
country. Because health plans change, it’s important for everyone, including seniors, to learn
about your benefits so you can get the most out of your coverage.
Know What You Like
Knowing yourself is half the battle when it comes to making healthy living choices. This doesn’t
that may not be the best exercise for you. Instead, try some fitness activities that really seem
fun. And remember that exercise isn’t limited to the gym. If you love to dance, take 10 minutes
each day and have your own personal dance party in your living room.
Along the same lines, it’s hard to stick with healthy eating when you look at your diet in terms of
deprivation. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on eating plenty of what you like
that’s also good for you. Harvard Health Publishing recommends keeping track of how many
fruits and vegetables you eat in a day. Once you do that, find creative ways to add one more
serving each day. Focus on the ones you love, and find new recipes to keep things interesting.
You may discover that you love fruit smoothies in the morning or crunching on carrots and
hummus in the afternoon.
Know Your Schedule
No matter how much you love a certain recipe, it’s hard to stay on track if you don’t have room
in your schedule to cook. It’s important to be realistic about your schedule and how you can
make healthy habits fit into it. One way to do this is by meal planning. The Kitchn explains how
meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. Once you get the hang of it,
meal planning is the ideal way to work healthy meals into your regular life.
The underlying requirement for all of these habits is that, to make them stick, you have to work
with who you are, not against yourself. You aren’t trying to change who you are! You’re just
changing how you do some things in a way that truly works for you.
Check out some tips for healthy living by our guest contributor Jennifer McGregor.
Ash Kickin Contributor
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