After a difficult year, making positive changes in 2021 may feel overwhelming. But if improving your health and wellness is on your mind, consider some smaller steps to start down the path to a healthier lifestyle this year.

Increase your activity

Many of us have often thought about adding ‘being more active’ to our New Year’s resolutions list. It may sound easy enough, but we can struggle to achieve it. Here are some tips that can make your resolution more sustainable.

  1. Start Small. View goal setting like climbing a ladder. Start at the bottom and expect to climb – step by step. Know you can’t just jump to the top rung.
  2. Consistency is key. A habit is something you do often and regularly. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re doomed to fail so ensure it is something that makes you feel happy and satisfied after finishing.
  3. Ask for support. Accountability has proven to be important for maintaining goals. Bring trusted professionals, friends and family into your corner and lean on them when inevitable challenges come your way.

Walking is a great way to add activity to your life. Did you know that January is Walk Your Dog month?

Enjoy the benefits of walking your dog including improved fitness, decreased stress and improving your own and your dog’s wellbeing.

Don’t have a dog? Find another activity you love – many gyms and studios now have online offerings.

If you have any health concerns about increased activity, talk to your family doctor.

Make one change to your diet

Commit to healthier eating this year by trying one of these tips:

  1. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables
  2. Add more fibre
  3. Cut back on sweetened beverages
  4. Be mindful of your salt and sugar intake

When you’re able to sustain one of these changes, consider taking on one or two more to keep improving your eating habits.

Need help with making changes to your diet? Attend one of our free group workshops Craving Change or Ask a Dietitian classes, make a one-on-one appointment with a PCN dietitian or talk to your family doctor.

Limit your alcohol intake

Consider limiting your alcohol consumption for benefits such as deeper sleep, improved energy and mood, and better long-term health. According to Alberta Health Services, cutting down on alcohol can also lower the risk of several cancers, including breast, colorectal, oral, liver, esophageal and laryngeal cancer.

Work to improve your mental health

For some, dark days and cold weather can cause feelings of sluggishness or the “winter blues.” The cold has set in and the days are short, which means it is essential we all take extra care of our mental health.

This includes regular exercise, staying connected to friends and family and participating in socially distanced hobbies or activities you enjoy.

Calgary Foothills PCN offers free virtual group classes to support positive mental health such as Happiness Basics, Anxiety 101 or Anxiety to Calm. We also offer free, single session mental health counselling through our One-Step-at-a-Time service. Alberta Health Services also has numerous resources to support your mental health.

If you are concerned about your mental health or if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, be sure to speak to your family doctor. And if you are in the midst of a crisis, struggling with severe anxiety or depression or having suicidal thoughts, call the Calgary Distress Centre’s 24-hour helpline at 403-266-4357 or 211.

Your doctor can help

Your family doctor can address concerns, help you set health goals and connect you with other health professionals to help you achieve any health and wellness goals you set for the year.

If you don’t have a family doctor you can search for one by location, gender or languages spoken at