It’s been a challenging year for many in the U.S. and around the world. But despite the uncertainty and unpredictability it brought, many have already adjusted their wellness regimen this year and are planning to prioritize this as a continued focus in 2021.
A recent survey sponsored by OPTAVIA* of 1,414 adults showed that 63% of Americans have changed the way they approach health and wellness amid the pandemic, well ahead of the new year. However, 74% of people say they need support to maintain healthy habits as the pandemic continues, underscoring the benefits of having both a solid plan and a strong support system.
Creating healthy habits that can last a lifetime
Organizing life around the pursuit of what’s most important to you can enhance your tolerance to the challenges life inevitably dishes out. So, if you’re deciding to invest — or continuing to invest — in your health, a holistic approach can keep you well-balanced and more likely to stay on track in 2021 and beyond.
You’ve heard the story before: People want to lose weight in the new year, so they get a gym membership that rarely gets used or they go on a crash diet. As the story goes, they’re back to their old ways before the end of January. When people attempt to “fix” their poor health-related habits with radical overnight changes, it rarely helps them create health in the long-term.
In 2021, though, diet and exercise aren’t the only areas of wellness Americans are pursuing. Many are focusing on improving their health holistically through better sleep or practicing mindfulness.
No matter your goal, these tips from Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen (Dr. A), independent OPTAVIA Coach and co-founder of OPTAVIA, a fast-growing health and wellness community focused on healthy habit creation, can help you achieve — and keep! — healthy habits:
- Know your purpose: If you’re looking to improve your health, having a reason to do so can be motivating. Before you start, think about why your healthy habit goals are important to you. That way, if you hit a roadblock, you can keep your “why” in mind and stay focused.
- Set realistic goals: Motivation is important. However, it can cause you to bite off more than you can chew, especially when it comes to your health and wellness regimen. The more intensely you focus on your end-goal at first, the more likely your motivation will fade with time. Instead of pursuing your end-goal full force, stay on track and build your confidence by starting small and gaining momentum. Here’s how:
- Identify achievable changes to your daily routine that are easy to repeat, like a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute breathing exercise.
- On days when your motivation is high, spend more time on it — try a 15-minute breathing exercise.
- Once the activities you choose become second nature, then you can start to do them more often or a little longer each time.
- Be accountable yet compassionate with yourself: According to Dr. A, it’s impossible to achieve 100% of your health goals 100% of the time. It’s common to fail from time to time and make mistakes along the way. But you know what? That’s OK. Instead of beating yourself up, reframe your mindset and take “failure” as a learning opportunity. Show yourself a little compassion. When you do this, it’s a lot easier to shake off the shame and focus on your end goal, which increases motivation.
- Seek support from loved ones or a professional: Behavior change can be hard and people need support to reach their goals. Any successful person will tell you it took a village. Find a coach, a counselor, a friend or family member or even a community of people with shared interests and goals. Those who see your potential can celebrate your victories and help you work through challenges to help you push through.
Healthy habits lead to a happy life
While we don’t know what 2021 will bring, investing in your well-being is always worth it. OPTAVIA can help you build a healthy lifestyle by teaching you how to adopt healthy habits. With some determination, self-compassion and the right tools and support, you can create a lasting wellness regimen that fits with your lifestyle.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1414 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 20th October 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+). The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3% at 95% confidence.