The Most Important Thing to Consider
Before Setting Your 2020 Goals

The end of the year is drawing closer, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably been thinking about what you want your 2020 to look like. In other words, all kinds of ideas about the things you’d like to accomplish are bouncing around in that big beautiful brain of yours.

Maybe you just want your jeans to button and zip up a little easier. Or you finally want to join that pick-up basketball league. Or you’re ready to find out—firsthand—if eating a keto diet lives up to the hype.

While I’m a firm believer in the value of shifting your goals as you move through the steps of getting there, spending a little time figuring out exactly what you want to accomplish—and discovering your big motivating factor for why—can keep you on the path to success. Thinking back, did you have a deeper intention for any one-dimensional goals you’ve set in the past?

Before you set your 2020 goals, consider an article from JAMA titled “Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959–2017.” It lays out the brutally honest truth about our overall health status in the United States—and let me tell ya’ folks, it ain’t very glamorous. You’ll need a subscription to read the article in full, but this quote from the abstract offers a sobering glimpse at the facts:

“U.S. life expectancy increased for most of the past 60 years, but the rate of increase slowed over time, and life expectancy decreased after 2014. A major contributor has been an increase in mortality from specific causes (e.g., drug overdoses, suicides, organ system diseases) among young and middle-aged adults of all racial groups, with an onset as early as the 1990s and with the largest relative increases occurring in the Ohio Valley and New England. The implications for public health and the economy are substantial, making it vital to understand the underlying causes.”

These words speak volumes about what our focus as a society should be moving forward. It’s clear that we need to change the way we look at addiction. We also need to better understand what causes a person to feel that suicide is the only answer, and to make mental health a top priority. In addition, we need come to terms with the fact that our convenience-type nutrition choices and sedentary lifestyle are robbing us of…well, life itself.

Turning all of this around will require a holistic approach to well-being. That’s why you should consider both your body and mind before setting your goals for 2020—you cannot minimize either one if you expect to be at your best every day.

Dr. Royal Lee discusses these same issues in his 1958 article “Guideposts to Mental Health and I dare say they couldn’t be more relevant all these decades later. He opens with the words, “The ability to live happily within our environment begins with good nutrition.” Further in the article, Dr. Lee explains two kinds of chemical imbalances that can have a big influence on our general happiness. The first is an imbalance between alkaline and acid minerals. The second involves an inconsistency in our supplies of oxygen and sugars to the nerve cells. Too much or too little of either influence how you feel throughout the day as well as how show up in the world.

When you think of your goals for 2020, you’ll likely discover some powerful stuff if you dig a little deeper. Asking yourself several times why you want to accomplish a certain objective can shed light on a deep-seated concern. Let’s use those simple goals I mentioned earlier as an example.

You want to button and zip your jeans a little easier. Why? If you dig a little deeper, you might discover that what you really want is to ditch the superficial body image issues you’ve lived with your whole life and instead learn how to relate to your body from a stance of knowledge and understanding.

You want to join a pick-up basketball league. Why? Perhaps you’ve been feeling disconnected and isolated lately, and you long to be around like-minded people with common interests. (Maybe you’ll even make a friend or two.)

You want to find out if the keto diet is worth the hype. Why? Maybe your curiosity about the keto diet has less to do with all the hype and more to do with a family history of type 2 diabetes. For you, the keto diet is about feeling desperate to make sure you don’t end up with it too.

Our bodies and minds are freaking amazing and constantly trying to get back to a state of optimal health—so work with rather than against your body and mind’s altruistic motives. If you’re ready to be the hero in your life story rather than the antagonist, start by making the changes you need to in 2020.

Image from iStock/marekuliasz.

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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