JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As 2021 puts an end to a year like no other, one thing remains the same on New Year’s Day: setting resolutions. Like in years past, many resolutions this year are expected to be centered around health and wellness, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When you find what it is that you love to do as far as exercise, you’re more likely to stick with it,” said Amanda Clough, the group fitness coordinator at The Wellness Center in Johnson City. “Whether its hiking outside, whether it is a certain group fitness class like cycling or Zumba… find what it is that you really enjoy and it makes it a whole lot easier to stick with.”

Another way to ensure fitness goals are met: starting small with a realistic plan.

“A lot of people what they’ll do is set up a really extremely high goal for themselves that may be a year a long goal but they’ll want it in a month,” said Danielle Hawkins a certified personal trainer and owner of Danielle Marie Fitness. “My goal is to try to kind of talk them back down into showing what is a more sustainable goal for a month that way they get long-term results.”

Both Clough and Hawkins suggest planning out workouts and writing down goals one month at a time along with journaling.

“Start small but always write it down and really set yourself up for success that way by creating a calendar, creating a plan and making sure you have something you can stick with for at least 30 days,” Hawkins said.

And to be sure you don’t fall back on your intentions.

“Give yourself some grace,” says Clough. “Just know that it takes consistency and it does take the efforts. Exercise and having that healthy lifestyle is just as much of a mental process.”

Along with fitness, nutrition and healthy eating are expected to be a focus for 2021.

“Keep it in context and do the best that you can do in your situation. So, if you need to buy frozen, great. oftentimes vegetables are flash-frozen and they’re just as good if not better than fresh,” said integrative dietitian nutritionist, Monique Richard who owns Nutrition-In-Sight. “If you can’t afford that- canned is an option. you can rinse, you can buy the lower sodium version.”

Richard always suggests adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet and focusing on a variety of vitamins like A, D, C, K, magnesium, and zinc.

“We want to support our immune system,” Richard said. “We don’t want to ‘boost it’ because we can overact it as well. So, we really want to support our immune system and that is going to be good nutrition through and through.”

She also suggests adding specialty mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, scallions, apples, green tea, dried beans and nut butters into your diet.

“It doesn’t matter how big or how small. It just needs to be meaningful for you that way you can sustain it and you can do it throughout the year,” Richard said.

Throughout the pandemic, she has worked with a lot of people who have been “stress eating.”

“If you don’t know how to manage stress without something like food or a comfort that’s harming you or can harm you…[I suggest] learning about stress or seeing a therapist,” said Richard.

But overall, mental health is the most important component for success.

“It impacts absolutely everything that we do. It impacts how we take care of ourselves, who we interact within our relationships,” said Dr. Shari Rajoo, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Population Services and Behavioral Health at Ballad. “It is critical to overall health, I think we forget that sometimes and it does take work to take care of your mental health, it takes work to focus on being positive.”

Staying connected with others, gratitude journaling, meditation, and prayer are ways to support mindfulness, especially during Covid-19

“It is really important for us to have a positive outlook about this as much as we can and accept that these changes, while they’re somewhat difficult to deal with will be temporary and we will come out on the other side of this pandemic,” said Rajoo.

Reaching out to others and knowing when and how to seek help are also ways to ensure quality mental health.

“Most people know when they’re having problems but if its two weeks and you’re consistently feeling down every day, you identify that you’re feeling depressed every day, if you’re feeling feelings of hopelessness or helplessness on a daily basis for that two week period, those are some things that should signal for you to reach out to professionals for help,” said Rajoo.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, Ballad Health has a crisis hotline where help can be reached at 1-800-366-1132.