For many men, a new year represents a fresh start and an opportunity to set goals for the coming months. As 2022 comes to an end and 2023 is around the corner, it might be time to think about what you hope to achieve and how to get there. Some people set lofty goals and then become discouraged when life gets in the way or progress comes slowly. Setting achievable goals with clear milestones can be a great way to stay motivated in the new year.
Health and Fitness
New Year’s resolutions around health, wellness, and fitness are common. Starting a strict diet or committing to a high-intensity workout six days a week sounds great at the beginning of the year, but these goals can quickly lead to burn out and reverting to old habits. Instead of radical goals, consider setting achievable goals that are important to you. Think about the “why” behind your goals—why are they important? What will accomplishing them mean to you? How will they affect your life?
Set SMART Goals
The S.M.A.R.T. goal philosophy can help you think about goals in a new way. S.M.A.R.T. goals should be:
- Specific – Be clear about what you hope to accomplish. For example, “I want to be able to run a 5K with my son in October,” or, “I want to lower my cholesterol to normal levels by the summer.”
- Measurable – Make sure your goal has a measurable element that you can track. Instead of “work out more,” try “go for three walks each week for a month.” Starting small means you can adjust and expand your goal as you hit milestones.
- Attainable – Set goals that you can reasonably achieve! Nothing happens without hard work, commitment, and effort, but going from a sedentary lifestyle to running a marathon in two months might be more challenging than trying to run one mile each week. Making sure you can accomplish the goals is key for maintaining motivation.
- Relevant – Ensure your goal matters to you. If you make a New Year’s resolution to cut out carbs because your best friend is doing it, you may not be motivated to achieve it. Goals are personal, and only you know what matters most to you!
- Time-Bound – Set deadlines to keep yourself on track. Telling friends and family about your goals is another good way to stay accountable.
Think Differently about Health
Committing to exercising more or eating more vegetables are, of course, excellent steps to living a healthier life. However, many men don’t consider other important elements of their health, such as keeping up with doctor’s appointments and lab work. In a national survey, 72% of men said they would rather do household chores than go to the doctor, and only 50% of men engage with preventative healthcare. Conversely, 82% of men say they try to stay healthy to live longer for friends and family who rely on them.1 These statistics are at odds with each other because preventative care services could save over 100,000 lives in the U.S. every year.2 Preventative care includes shots and screenings that could detect chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer before they progress to life-threatening stages. Chronic disease is responsible for seven out of ten deaths every year in the US, so taking steps to prevent it is extremely important.2
Make Preventative Care a 2023 Goal
If you’re wondering how to get started with preventative care, your primary care doctor will be able to point you in the right direction. Blood pressure and cholesterol checks are basics that can be easy to start tracking during annual check-up appointments. Screenings for certain cancers are another important preventative step to ask your doctor about. If you have a family history of cancer or are over the age of 50, getting a prostate cancer screening each year is a great way to be proactive about your health and give yourself peace of mind. A prostate cancer screening can include a digital rectal examination and/or a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
The new year is the perfect time to schedule your appointment with your doctor and begin the path to healthier living.