Achieving and maintaining realistic health goals in 2021

By Regence
February 24, 2021
Dr. Amy Khan Regence

Committed to healthier living this year? Dr. Amy Khan talks about how to set yourself up for success

Does it surprise you that 15% more Americans made a New Year’s resolution for 2021 compared to last year? Of course, it’s one thing to make a goal and quite another to achieve it. Layer on how COVID-19 can affect daily living and even the most determined among us may have a tough time reaching our goals this year.   

Regence Executive Medical Director Dr. Amy Khan says that once we decide to make a change, the trick is to set ourselves up for success. Even during a pandemic—or despite any challenge—we have the power to improve our physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Dr. Khan shared some tips and ideas for how to keep resolutions or simply live a healthier lifestyle this year.

Top five tips

You can explore different ways to achieve your goal until you find one that consistently works for you—and then mix up your approach as needed:

  1. Replace an unhealthy behavior with a good habit
  2. Rather than stopping a bad habit abruptly, reduce how often you indulge in it over time
  3. If your goal is to exercise more, do an activity that’s fun or makes you feel great
  4. Aiming to reduce stress? Try meditation or deep breathing
  5. A 15-minute walk can get you past the urge to overeat or overindulge in alcohol

Whichever approach you take, expect to get off track once in a while—no one is perfect. If you stumble, just pick up where you left off. The key is to keep moving forward.

Emotions are important, too

When it comes to making a new commitment to health, many people focus on losing weight or getting more exercise. But emotional health is equally important, Dr. Khan says, and if ever there was a time to prioritize emotional well-being, it’s this year.

We can all relate to feeling worried as we cope with ongoing hardships. But for a growing number of us, anxious feelings have escalated into more serious mental distress or depression. As a result, more people are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse.

So make your emotional health a priority by trying these suggestions:

  • Focus on self-awareness and being present in the moment.
  • Work toward being able to check in with yourself and recognize what you’re feeling, thinking and experiencing physically
  • Identify healthier coping mechanisms, put them into action and build resiliency
  • Explore a new hobby or activity, the change of pace will do wonders for your sense of well-being 

If you’re struggling with intense anxiety, depression or addiction, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Search for resources in your community or online resources. Many Regence health plans provide behavioral health benefits including one-on-one support from our care management team. Our members can easily learn more about their behavioral health benefits at Help is also available by calling our Customer Service team using the number on the back of their ID card.