2020 was a rough year. As the public health crisis swept the world, many of us experienced other health issues, from chronic stress to poor diets to sedentary lifestyles as we stayed at home on the couch. Now that the New Year is approaching, the pressure to set health goals for a better 2021 is mounting. If you’re feeling unmotivated to make your New Year’s Resolutions, keep this in mind: your health is the foundation of your entire life. Here’s how you can take charge of your health in 2021.
Take a SMART Approach to Your Health Goals
The reason most people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions is not that they’re too lofty. Rather, they’re vague — and vague aspirations are not goals. For example, make people resolve to “lose weight” or “eat better.” But without specifics, how do you know when you’ve achieved your goal? And how can you break it down into manageable chunks?
Use the SMART method. Set your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For the weight loss example, this means:
– Identifying a SPECIFIC amount of weight you want to lose
– Setting milestones so your progress is MEASURABLE
– Making your goal ACHIEVABLE (i.e. don’t tell yourself you can lose 50 pounds in one month)
– Keeping it RELEVANT to your values and needs (i.e. you want to lose weight so you can feel more energetic and avoid health problems)
– Making it TIME-BOUND so you have an idea of when you’ll achieve your goal (i.e. set a target date that you can work toward)
Work with your healthcare provider to identify and plan your goals and how to get there. They can provide valuable insights, such as which weight-loss programs, or workout routines, or dietary plans would be safest and most effective for you. Should you eat more probiotic foods? Cut back on red meat and alcohol? Go for a jog three times a week? Ask for guidance so that you can make your goals as SMART as possible.
Be Proactive About Your Health Goals
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how many of us procrastinated on our health. Suddenly, it’s painfully obvious when we haven’t had a checkup in years or have let a poor diet catch up with us. In addition to setting your SMART goals, shift your healthcare mindset from reactive to proactive.
This means setting up your routine physicals, gynecological or prostate exams, and getting any suspicious moles checked out. Many physicians’ offices have limited availability due to the pandemic, so try to schedule appointments now. If you have one, your healthcare concierge can help facilitate this. Make a plan of action for addressing any lingering concerns or chronic health issues.
Also, make self-care at home part of your schedule. Commit to flossing regularly, stretching or doing yoga, performing breast self-exams, and other basic health practices that don’t require a doctor’s presence. Many people find it helpful to keep a daily log of their self-care activities, any physical sensations or symptoms, and their overall mood.
Take Control of Your Healthcare Expenses
It’s no secret that healthcare costs in the United States are a challenge for many families. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll find yourself paying steep out-of-pocket fees even for basic services and exams. If you do have insurance, you may experience issues with providers denying or mis-processing claims, costing you both stress and money.
To make healthcare costs easier to manage in 2021, create a budget for medical expenses and start a Health Savings Account if you can. Keep detailed records of any services or medications you receive, so that you have documentation of every claim sent to your insurance provider. This can be a lot to manage for those with chronic conditions, so if you haven’t yet, obtain a healthcare concierge such as Bedsiide to help you.
A better life with better health is only possible when you create clear, manageable goals with a detailed plan of action. Start 2021 off right with SMART goals that address any health problems and promote your overall well-being. Then, start being more proactive with your health management. If you find this overwhelming, there are resources to help. Overall, keep your health at the forefront of your mind and don’t be afraid to seek assistance for the services you need.
Looking for a healthcare concierge? Bedsiide’s expert team can help you and your family navigate healthcare decisions, choose the best providers, and keep track of billing and insurance claims. Get your free evaluation now and take charge of your health for 2021.