Setting Personal Goals in January 2021
It’s that time of year when people start taking inventory of 2020 and looking for ways to improve their lives in 2021. It’s not known definitively when New Year’s resolutions originated but history does tell us that the Babylonians were already recording them more than 4,000 years ago, on the belief that what a person did on the first day of the year would affect their lives throughout the year. Medical research shows that the very arrival of a new year creates psychological changes in our mindsets, as we look back and think about what we could have done better. As columnist Eric Zorn put it: “Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforced humility.”
The very process of setting personal New Year’s resolutions can be helpful in evaluating your life and discovering what changes you want to see. It’s easy to set yourself up for failure, though, by trying to take on too much change at once, so set simple, achievable goals and take things one step at a time. For example, don’t decide to lose 100 pounds then walk away after a month because it’s not happening fast enough; break it down into smaller, meaningful goals that allow you to celebrate successes along the way.
A Recipe for Success
When it comes to setting health-and-fitness goals, Valiant Fitness (facebook.com/FitnessValiant) encourages people to set SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. These parameters help you stay on track with numerous metrics to keep track of your progress.
“We also encourage clients to start with small steps to achieve each goal,” said Valiant Fitness Owner Justin Wittler. “Trying to focus on your sleep, stress, workout, and nutrition all at once is a recipe for failure. Instead, take your time to master each step of the process so that your goals can have long-term results.”
Valiant offers both personal and group training and nutrition services to help those seeking to improve their health in 2021 achieve their goals. On the fitness side, they create a personalized program that suits the individual or group and focuses on strength, balance, and cardiovascular health. On the nutrition side, Valiant Nutritional Therapist Olivia Borer helps clients achieve balance through management of diet, stress, sleep, gut health, hormones, and more. With any goal, they recommend breaking it down into small, manageable steps to allow you small successes along the way.
“Also, remember that perfection isn’t the goal,” Justin said. “Instead, focus on achieving consistency with your goals. In the long run, that will get you much further than being ‘on the wagon’ for a few months, then ‘off the wagon’ for another few months.
As far as setting personal goals for the New Year, improving your health and fitness is always a good idea.
“There is nothing worse than feeling poorly physically throughout the day,” Justin said. “Working on reducing inflammation through nutrition while focusing on mobility, core strength, and balance on the fitness side allows you to start feeling better physically and mentally! At Valiant Fitness, we have an offering for everyone—from personal training to group training to nutrition packages to suit your specific needs best.”
It’s All About Absorption!
If your goals involve your mental state of mind—say, more focus, better sleep, more energy, improved brain clarity—in addition to comfort and physical health, CBD American Shaman (cbdamericanshaman.com) has what you need! In fact, they have CBD products that may help with relief, wellness, and beauty—in addition to ones that help keep your pets healthy and active. What’s more, CBD American Shaman products are far superior to those of any other competitor because their proprietary, patent-pending nanotechnology, which means that 90% to 100% of the CBD actually is absorbed by your body to do its thing! They are also U.S. Hemp Authority certified.
“We are the only company that’s achieved nanotechnology to perfection,” said Lincoln CBD American Shaman Owner Lance Schroeder. “For the body’s absorption rate, perfection is between 50 and 60 nanometers, and we’re the only company that’s there. The thing a lot of people don’t understand is you can’t compare our products to others on the shelves for maybe less money, and that’s not because our products are more expensive for what they accomplish—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Our proprietary nanotechnology features faster absorption, lasts longer in your body.”
Case in point: If you get 300mg of CBD American Shaman Water-Soluble, with nanotechnology, it’s nine times more bioavailable for your body! To get the same amount to your body with a standard oil tincture, you would have to buy a 3,000mg bottle of the standard tincture! With most other brands, you absorb 10-30% of a standard tincture. Most people absorb about 10%, instead of the 90% you’ll get with CBD American Shaman products. Taking it a step farther, if you swallow any of the standard tincture before it’s absorbed in your mouth, the bioavailability goes to zero.
“With our nanotechnology products, you can mix it with a drink and it absorbs right into your blood system,” Lance said. “The molecules are small enough to go through your liver undetected so it is fully absorbed by your body. With other products, you can put it under your tongue for up to two minutes to absorb as much as possible, but then it has to pass through your liver, and the particles are so big that you only retain about 10% of what you take. Suddenly, that 1,000mg standard tincture is worth just about nothing. Bioavailability is what makes us who we are. The proof is in our pudding!”
When it comes to meeting your health goals for 2021 with CBD products, it’s clear that CBD American Shaman is the way to go. Among some of their leading products now are CBGo, CBNight, and CBD Nanotechnology Gummies. CBGo has been shown to give you a lot of clarity, focus, and energy. Take it in the morning and it will give you a big boost for those long days, without all the negative effects of caffeine.
“I’ve been in a class all week for five hours a day, and I took that CBGo every day and never got tired,” Lance told us in a recent interview. “It’s just amazing, and it’s water-soluble with nanotechnology so your body absorbs it, and it has CBD and CBG in it. The CBG gummies have apple-cider vinegar in them. We figured out how to nano our gummies so you retain 90% to 100% of what you take. Finally, CBNight is a fabulous natural sleep aid. As long as you don’t take CBD or drink alcohol for four hours before you take it, it will help you regenerate your sleep pattern. Take it about 30 minutes before bed, close your eyes, and drift away—and when you wake up, you’ll be refreshed and have zero sleep hangover!”
Take in the Outdoors
There’s no doubt that 2020 brought its share of challenges to the table, but some of the repercussions were good for both mind and body. We all know that exercise and physical activity are crucial to maintaining physical and mental well-being—and that has maybe never been more profound than during the pandemic. With things like team sports and gyms being canceled and closed early in the pandemic, people had to find new ways to get in their physical activity. It turns out that more people than ever have been turning to Mother Nature to get their exercise—in the great outdoors!
“I think 2020 did some amazing things for people,” said Lincoln Running Co. (lincrunningcompany.com) Owner Ann Ringlein. “Many look at the year as an awful one, and I am not downplaying the horrible things that happened or are happening, but I am an eternal optimist, and what I have seen is so many people beginning to exercise or increasing their exercise and taking it outside! This is great on so many levels. First, just getting more of the population moving is making our community so much healthier and happier. Getting out and walking or running does as much for your mind as it does for your body: Attitudes change once you step out the door and head down the trail, road, or sidewalk. Things that were driving you crazy seem to be much smaller problems now.”
Ann suggests that people make an easily attainable goal to get outside and walk or run four times a week—not necessarily extremely far or fact—just enough to let the good feelings you get outside keep getting you out the door. Research indicates that being active in the outdoors can be beneficial to your health in different ways than indoor exercise. Spending time in green or blue spaces like parks, forests, or lakes contribute to improved mental well-being. During the pandemic, increased benefits also came from seeing other people outside in neighborhoods or parks, which was shown to improve feelings of trust and community. Crucial to moving your exercise outdoors, though, is having the right footwear and apparel to keep your body healthy and comfortable and to avoid injuries—especially in winter.
“Being comfortable is part of this equation,” Ann said, “comfortable with your apparel and your footwear. When you walk and run, you land with anywhere from two to four times your body weight, and you take about 1,500 steps a minute. That is a lot of pounding—even for tiny people. At Lincoln Running Company, we pride ourselves on getting you in footwear that you will love to wear and apparel that will perform how you need it to in winter weather. We have carried running apparel since we first opened our doors in 1976 because we feel it is just as important as your footwear.”
Goals, or resolutions mean you’re thinking forward, which is as important at the beginning of the year is as good a time as any, Ann said. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t need to limit fitness goals to the New Year. Set short-term goals that help you get to your long-term ones to keep your resolutions alive all year. Make sure your short-term goals are doable, and set them weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. When you accomplish one short-term goal, set another, and you’re moving along continually toward your long-term goal. Be realistic.
“For 2021, I think we all need to give ourselves a break on expectations,” Ann said. “It may be a time to ‘start over’ with our exercise programs, and these programs may look different. Give yourself time to figure out what the new normal is, and then OWN that normal. As long as you get your schedule down and repeat it every week, you’ll be on the right track!”
A Healing Gift
Celebrating your successes as your reach even your smallest goals is crucial to long-term success. One great way to celebrate is to give yourself the healing gift of massage. In fact, it can help you meet your mental and physical goals. It’s an investment in your full creative expression, productivity, passion, and sustained good health. A massage from 5 Elements Massage & Spa (5elementsne.com) can help with depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, stress, insomnia, and many other issues you deal with on a daily basis. Oh, and it feels so invigorating! When it comes to setting personal goals for yourself, 5 Elements Owner Erin McLenon suggest trying one-word resolutions.
“I don’t do large goals,” Erin said. “For 2020, for example, the word was ‘production,’ 2019 was ‘improvement,’ 2018 was ‘education,’ and I think 2021 will be somewhere in the ‘healthcare’ area. Choosing one-word goals can be a safe way of holding true to them, and you can interpret it in ways that are meaningful to you. In 2020, I went from renting a room from another business to leasing my own and taking on employees. In 2018, I taught myself to run, did a half marathon, and took an important business course that helped me move forward, and in 2019, I moved into a larger home, moved my business into a better location, found my now-husband, and have been nothing but happy since.”
Another great way to share the uplifting benefits of massage you get from massage is your increased ability to encourage others to meet their goals, which translates to learning and advancing your own daily life.
“I understand a great many people don’t like change but it benefits everyone around us,” Erin said. “If someone is stressed out often from work and they start getting a massage once a month, it could reduce the way they deal with and handle the stressful events, making wiser and calmer decisions. It’s healthier to get massages than swallowing pills for headaches, and it helps activate your parasympathetic (nervous) system. This is the calming that comes from doing something you enjoy, versus the sympathetic fight-or-flight system that many experience when they are stressed out.”
It’s rather impressive how many different styles of massage there are to help people with specific needs. Reflexology is beneficial in breaking up and loosening tightness in your feet. People with sports injuries can benefit from the work of a trained professional sports massage, something that 5 Elements is perfecting through the Spontaneous Muscle Release Technique, or SMRT. With this technique, you hardly feel the work being done, but when you get up and start moving around afterward, any pain you had melts away. Whatever form you need, 5 Elements Massage & Spa will tailor it specifically to you.
“One thing we thrive at here at 5 Elements Massage & Spa is making everything personable,” Erin said. “Each massage is customized to your needs the day you walk in. If you visit again two weeks later, it will change, unless you need the same thing again.”
Focus on Self
Setting personal goals for 2021 is the perfect time to focus on yourself, to provide a plan for your own self-care, on the heels of a crazy, chaotic year of change and challenge.
“I have been finding that people are neglecting their own self-care,” said Affinity Community Counseling (affinitycommunitycounseling.com) Director of Behavioral Health Services Jennifer Clark. “They are so busy taking care of family members, coworkers, and friends that they forget about themselves. A new year is a great time to focus on yourself and find time to have that self-care. You will begin to see such a difference in your own attitude, physical health, and overall well-being.”
Jennifer asked other providers at Affinity to provide their own input about setting personal goals. Shae Taylor, PLMHP, said a key to improving yourself is listening to and confirming your emotions.
“As a mental health therapist, I always promote goals that strengthen and improve mental health,” Shae said. “One of the goals I would recommend for the New Year is to focus on validating your emotions. With the rollercoaster of a year we had in 2020, it is important to identify and accept the emotions that you have felt.
Something that might be helpful is setting aside a time in your day to journal, meditate, or sit in silence. The more we recognize and validate our emotions, the better able we are to implement coping techniques.”
If you decide to set goals for the New Year, don’t be too hard on yourself.
“It’s important to recognize that goals can be altered and changed at any time,” said Abby Alger, LMHP. “If you have a hiccup in your goal, it’s not a failure, just a short pause. Be kind to yourself! Recognize the small goals that you reach every day, and allow yourself the space to acknowledge how awesome you are!”
Affinity’s Michaella Arnold, PLMHP, echoed Abby’s sentiments: “Understand that habits don’t change overnight, and that one inch of progress is better than no progress. Everyone struggles to achieve their resolutions, so do not feel like a failure if you go off the resolution train once in a while. Have the awareness to come back to the resolution!”
Finally, said Melissa, Reamer, LMHP, consider working with a therapist to help you reach your goals: “In a world full of negativity, it is nice to find a therapist who can help you find the positive in your life. A therapist can help you change your perspective. By finding that positive side and changing your perspective, it can help you change your life in the way you want it to be changed.”
Your Inner Voice
COVID-19 has delivered blow after blow to the chaos and expectations of us in everyday life, which applies significant pressure to our physical and mental health. You’re expected to perform multiple roles, while managing the demands of emails, voicemails, texts, business, and family, which translate directly to challenges including time constraints, lack of sleep, motivation challenges, temptations, stress, money, and pressure to be the perfect healthy person. The combination of these can make setting personal goals in 2021 a seemingly overwhelming task.
“The disruptive nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mental well-being, employment, income loss, disruptions to education, familiar relations, and friendships, as well as a limitation to individual freedoms,” said Maureen A. DeRyke, PLMHP, PMSW of Daring Minds Therapy (daringmindstherapy.info). It’s disrupting every aspect of people’s lives in an unprecedented manner.”
That’s where Daring Minds Therapy comes into play. This women-owned small business that Maureen founded with Sarah Worley and Erica Schroeder in 2018 has therapists who are trained and licensed in child-parent psychotherapy, eye-movement desensitization, reprocessing, dialectical behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol abuse, social work, and trauma-related disorders. So if you’re looking to improve your overall health in 2021 and feel like you might need some help to get started, set some small goals in your daily life and give yourself time to figure out what works for you, going at your own pace.
“Our mind, body, and spirit communicate with us daily as to what is healthy and what is not,” Maureen said. “However, taking that time to listen to our inner voice can be challenging. Pick one or two things that feel achievable at first, before moving on to trying other ideas. If there is something that helps you relax, try to find time to fit it into your day. Try to eat regular meals and have a balanced diet, as this can help your mood and energy levels—and try to establish a routine around bedtime to help set a regular sleeping pattern.
Take it Home
Now, if you’re still more comfortable in your own living room, you might want to consider the new Right Foot Forward Fitness (rightfootforwardfitness.com) home-training program. For this one, they bring the training studio to you! Right Foot Forward delivers the equipment and training supplies you need straight to your front door—from hand weights to bands to TRX systems. You’ll also receive custom programming with full-length workout videos, diet support through a customized meal plan delivered to your inbox, complete with recipes and a weekly shopping list, biometric tracking, and daily support through an online coaching portal. All you have to bring to the table is the hard work and dedication to your goals! Even if you’re training from home, it’s helpful to have someone besides you helping to hold you accountable.
“You often hear that creating specific, measurable goals and setting deadline are the keys to success,” said Right Foot Forward Fitness Owner Jeff Madsen. “That’s half the battle, maybe more, but don’t forget about having an accountability partner. This could be a personal trainer, a friend, or a spouse. You need to give someone permission to help you reach your short-term goals and speak into your life. Making others aware of your plans and purposely introducing an accountability element into your goal-setting will pull you through the hard times and let you reap the benefits of being consistent. Set yourself up for success ahead of time, and you won’t be full of regret down the road!”
It’s also important not to throw yourself into your goals in a way that is not sustainable, Jeff added. Can you exercise reliably for two days per week and sustain that over weeks or months? If so, that’s far better than exercising three or more days per week for the first month, then stopping for the rest of the year. Remember, small hinges swing large doors! Right Foot Forward Fitness helps people set up effective and safe programs, coupled with advice and accountability on your dietary choices. Jeff advises people to have really big long-term goals paired with realistic and achievable short-term ones. It will give you a chance to score and win regularly and build some momentum. The same habits that help you lose that first 10 pounds will keep helping you as you lose the next 40 pounds.”
Making New Year resolutions is an age-old practice, but it’s also a great way to set yourself up for success. Setting personal goals delivers motivation, helps you take control of your life, gives you a sense of achievement, and boosts your self-esteem. Whether your goals are related to physical, mental, or emotional health and wellness, Lincoln businesses can help you reach them. We encourage you to connect with the professionals featured here to get you on a track that will make you proud in 2021!