Healthy For The Holidays
Kick off the New Year with Healthy Kidneys
Have you set your 2024 New Year goals?
December 28, 2023
The beginning of a new year is a popular time to set health goals and we’re here to help!
Sometimes, setting goals or trying to implement a new lifestyle adjustment or habit can be overwhelming. But, don’t let that stop you. The benefits outweigh the challenges! Plus, we’ve pulled together some tips and tricks for making your goals achievable and successful.
Pro tip: Focus on changing a few small habits at a time.
If one of your new goals is to better manage your weight, there are several places you could start like increasing your exercise, doubling up on fiber, and cutting down on your portions. To get started, pick a single goal and set concrete action steps to reach it. Then, you can move on to your next goal with one already in the bag!
Make sure your goals are SMART
One of the best ways to succeed with goals is to make sure they are “smart”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Sensitive. SMART goals ensure you know exactly what you’re working toward! This approach also helps to give yourself a deadline so you stay on track.
When setting your goals, ask yourself:
- What exactly am I going to do?
- Where will I do it?
- How much and how often?
- How long will I continue doing this?
- Am I being realistic?
- Can I measure my outcome?
Here are some examples of SMART goals:
- “I will ride my indoor bicycle 20 minutes a day 3 days per week for 1 month.” In this scenario, you have set a specific goal (ride indoor bike) that is measurable, achievable (3 days per week versus everyday!), relevant (health-focused), and time-sensitive (1 month).
- “I will check my blood pressure each morning and write it on my log for 2 weeks.” Checking your blood pressure daily is specific, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive. Plus, you’ve already decided how to measure it, by writing your readings in your blood pressure log.
Sample Goals for Kidney Health
Here are some sample kidney-health nutrition and wellness goals from the Somatus health support team to start your year off right!
Goal: Reduce total cholesterol levels.
Why: Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by your liver and can also be found in certain foods. Your body needs cholesterol, but if you have too much, it can build up in your arteries and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Action: One way to help keep your cholesterol at a healthy level is to make heart-healthy food choices. Eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and limit foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
SMART Goal Example: I will eat more fruits and vegetables at each meal for one month, and give myself a “star” on my calendar each day I stick to this.
Goal: Make physical activity part of your routine.
Why: Things that are good for your heart and blood vessels—like exercise—are good for your kidneys too! When you move, blood pumps through your body with more vigor.
Action: With your doctor’s approval, try to get 30 minutes of exercise for as many days of the week as you can. Some ideas include yoga, walking, swimming, and biking. If you have not been active for a while, check with your care team. Physical therapy visit may be a good way to start!
What would be your SMART goal?
Goal: Track blood sugar and record results in a log.
Why: High blood sugar can harm your kidneys and can make chronic kidney disease progress faster. We can’t manage what we don’t measure! If your Somatus health support team says that your numbers run high, you can test and track them at home. What you learn can be some of your best data to help your kidneys.
Action: If you have diabetes or are prediabetic, test each morning before you eat, and 2 hours after a first bite of a meal to see how foods affect you. Track your numbers using this handy blood glucose log and share them with your Somatus health support team and at your next appointment with your health care provider.
What would be your SMART goal?
Setting goals is a great way to start off the new year with a focus on your health. Use these tips and tricks throughout the year and work with your Somatus health support team to set goals that are reasonable for you. Focus on your growth, celebrate your wins, and lean on your loved ones as you kick your kidneys into shape!