If you’ve ever taken a peek at the Instagram feed of Blackmores Australian Open Ambassador, Rachael Finch, you’ve probably been a little impressed by her holistic and wholesome approach to life. You wouldn’t be the first to assume she spends hours slogging it out in the gym, followed by eating a restricted diet, to accomplish her fit physique.

In actual fact, Finch has achieved what she has by taking a realistic and balanced approach. She tells us that she has learnt about the importance of finding an approach to her own health and wellness that doesn’t cause stress. When preparing to set her goals for the New Year, she steered clear of popular options like running a marathon or cutting out sugar and instead decided to bring the focus back to herself. If you’re starting to wonder whether your New Year’s Resolutions were a little, er, ambitious, don’t chuck them out the window– take some of Finch’s tips for setting goals that will actually make you happier and healthier in 2016 and put them into practice.

Listen to how your body feels

I think it’s important to make decisions based on how my body is feeling.
So to eat how I feel, to rest how I feel, to do things based on how I feel in the moment. When I put Violet to bed, I stop and think “Okay, could I do work or do I need a nap? Which one is going to make me more productive when she wakes up?” If I have a nap and then get up an hour before she does, do some work and then I have the afternoon off, I’ll be feeling good! If I push through that and do work now…I’ll probably be feeling shit the rest of the afternoon. It’s about finding where the balance fits right for you and the right time to do things.

Bring Your Food Back To Basics

It may sound a bit outdated and daggy, but you really are what you eat. If my nutrition isn’t on point, I simply don’t feel as good as I know I can, and I don’t have the energy to keep up with life! A lot of people make the goal to eat better in the New Year, but instead of making goals that involve eating an Instagram-worthy acai bowl every day, you need to get real about what you can actually achieve. My favourite meal to cook for my family is almost a bit boring- oven roasted salmon fillet with sweet potato and steamed greens. But it’s delicious, packs a nutritional punch and most importantly is doable. A goal like ‘eat a vegetable with every meal’ is a much more realistic dietary goal than ‘eradicate sugar entirely’.

Move your body daily

Again, ditch the overambitious goals when it comes to fitness. A lot of the time, we make goals for the new year like ‘I want to run a half-marathon!’ when we’ve never enjoyed running in the past, and one 30-minute jog is enough to remind us that we despise it and have no intention to follow through with this goal. This New Year, I’m breaking it down and keeping it super simple by committing to simply moving. Every. Single. Day. Whether that is walking to work, biking somewhere, going to the gym or playing with your kids, whatever it means for you. But making this commitment is not only much more realistic than something of iron-man proportions, but it will actually do wonders for your health in the long run.

Take time for yourself

This may seem like a simple wellbeing goal, but take to really think about this one. I believe wellness is all about balance, time management and prioritising! Sometimes we think it’s all about the kids…and yes, they’re important and they need your affection and love, but so do YOU, and the career and the family. It’s important to take time out of your busy schedule and do things for you. Whether this is simply sitting somewhere for an hour, reading a book or going to a movie, whatever turns you off and relaxes you. At the end of the day, you won’t be able to commit to any of your wellbeing goals if you’re simply burnt out and unhappy. You need to take time to breathe, relax and refocus, before you can put your energy into your wellness goals.

Be honest with yourself

Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling and what you need. For example, ask yourself: ‘is improved fitness the most important goal I can make, or do I actually need to make time to meditate, to cope with my stress?’. This year, I’m refocusing on myself and my needs, as I truly believe mindfulness and happiness are key to wellbeing. Once you’ve established your goal, check in with yourself regularly and be honest about your progress. Do you need to refocus on the goal, if it’s slipped by the wayside? Write your goals down and put them somewhere visible so they are easily accessible, like the bathroom or fridge. Making small, achievable changes to your daily life are what will make a difference to your overall wellbeing and happiness.