If I were to take a look at my resolutions and health goals from my pre-kid days, they were about as basic as they come. You know the list I’m talking about: Lose some weight, exercise more, eat healthier. Not only is it basic, but it’s also vague and not the healthiest approach to wellness.
As the mom of two toddlers, my health goals couldn’t look more different. Being healthy for myself and modeling healthy behaviors for my family is super important to me, but health no longer presents itself to me as being “skinny” or working out as much as possible. It’s taken on new meaning because I’ve learned that healthy doesn’t have a specific weight or workout intensity level attached to it. My health goals have also shifted because as a mom, my available time and priorities have changed.
So training for a marathon isn’t on my to-do list—and neither is losing the remaining baby weight that’s still hanging around. In order for me to be successful with my goals during this season of life, those goals can and should be small and attainable. As a health coach, personal trainer, and mom, I know that small changes make a big impact on overall wellbeing and happiness.
My health goals for 2023 might seem unimpressive to some. In fact, they’d seem downright silly to my 20-something self. My younger kid-free self did many of these things without having to think about them. But my 30-something self is different in so many ways, and these little goals have actually been a challenge for me, especially since welcoming my second child.
With limited free time, not a ton of extra energy, and a tendency to push off time dedicated to myself, these small health and wellness goals are what I’m excited to focus on in this new year.
Spend time outside each day
I used to walk to and from work every day, even if it was a 30-minute walk in freezing temperatures. Now, my walk to work is me climbing out of my bed and heading to our home office 10 feet away. Aside from preschool drop-off and pick-up (which I drive to!), there have been way too many days where I don’t step outside once. But when I finally do get time to make it outside? Well, it feels like a true breath of fresh air, and I ask myself why I don’t do it more often.
There are a lot of excuses for not getting outside. Sometimes it’s cold and requires a long prep session getting the kids bundled up. It just seems easier to hunker down under a blanket and read a book to my kids. But I know the benefits of being outside for my own wellbeing and for my children’s, and I don’t want us to stay inside because it’s easier.
It might not seem like much, but my goal is to spend at least some time outside every day, whether it’s a solo walk to clear my head or playing in the snow with my kids.
Move my body more days than I don’t
Goals of my former lifestyle would be something like “work out five to seven times a week.” I don’t really recognize that girl anymore. And though I miss my ability to hit the gym for hours at a time, it’s not a reasonable goal for me at this point in my life. My current goal is simple: to move my body more often than I don’t. This might be a workout, but it also might be going on a walk, doing virtual yoga, or taking time to stretch.
I’ve learned that any movement is a wonderful thing, and it doesn’t need to be a sweat-drenched cardio class. All types of movement are important and healthy, and that’s what I’m focusing on this year.
Sure, I drink some water, but not nearly enough. While this is pretty much the easiest healthy change to make, I know I’m not the only one who struggles to drink sufficient amounts of H2O each day.
There are so many benefits to staying hydrated, including improved energy levels, brain function, digestion, and skin appearance. With all those positives, there’s not a downside to adding more water into my routine. And knowing it’s a simple addition to my routine makes it a health goal I’m happy to work toward.
Try one new recipe a month
I love to cook but have found myself in a serious recipe rut for months. Trying new recipes takes planning and effort—two things I don’t often have the energy for. So instead of experimenting with new flavors and ingredients for my family, I resort to our tried-and-true favorites. While there’s nothing wrong with that, cooking new recipes has a bunch of benefits for me and my family.
It’s important to introduce new things to my kids. Though they won’t love everything (in fact, there’s a good chance my picky toddler won’t like anything), it’s still key to put those new items on their plate for exposure. It’s also good for my own health to keep things interesting in the kitchen. One new recipe a month is not a big deal. I often scroll Instagram and see recipes I want to try, though I never get around to it. With this goal in mind, I’ll bookmark those recipes and actually put them into action.
Set a bedtime
You’ll notice I didn’t make my goal to get a certain amount of sleep each night. Any fellow mom knows this is a goal you don’t always have control over. While I can control what time I get into bed, I can’t predict when my littles will wake me up at 8 a.m. versus 6 a.m. Though I crave kid-free time at night, this can often lead to staying up way later than necessary, usually to binge-watch a show.
My goal is to set a reasonable bedtime that allows for evening time to enjoy myself but also sets me up to get a decent amount of sleep before I’m woken up by my kids in the morning. For me, that bedtime will be 9:30 p.m., but it will differ for everyone.
To some, these goals might seem insignificant, but I know there are other moms who are nodding their heads along with these plans. Sometimes, the best moves you can make are the tiny ones, and my goal for this year is to work on the building blocks of a healthy foundation so I can feel my best in the coming year.