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Dr. Azibanigha Akpila: Let’s Talk About Your Annual Health Goals

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Just as we set financial goals, career goals, body goals and academic goals, it is imperative we set health goals. Rather than being reactive, let’s be proactive regarding our health.

I’ll approach this from the three major aspects the WHO makes reference to when defining health.

Physical Well-being

This is the most visible of the three aspects of health. What typically influences our physical health, apart from our core (which is the innate genetic makeup that makes one prone to a certain illness or the other), are the choices we make: our diet, level of physical activity, habits and so on. A few goals to set in this area are:

Make up your mind to eat right
What you eat becomes part of your cell and over time becomes you. You are essentially what you eat. As you make up your mind to eating healthy this year, cut down on your carbohydrates, eat more vegetables. I will go into more details in subsequent articles.

Be more physically active
I know the weather is hot, your schedule is tight, you most likely spend your free time in traffic, you feel exhausted from facing the world out there, you feel stressed, you barely have time for yourself — I know all that. I’m not asking that you do something drastic, but why not start where you are and build momentum. How about using the stairs for a floor or two instead of the elevator, or walking for about 30 minutes before you take a ride. Try to fit some level of sustained physical activity into your daily schedule. I will talk about what physical activity does to the body on another day.

Stop any habit that poses a danger to your health
Stop smoking. Don’t consume excess alcohol, engage in unprotected sex, or fail to take your medication.

Mental Well-being

There is a growing awareness of mental health in this part of the world, but we cannot be too aware. Mental health is pretty much how we feel, think and behave, and can be affected by a number of factors. A few goals I’ll recommend you set to enable you have a better mental health this year in the midst of the hustle and bustle are:

Consciously inject yourself with a few doses of self-love
Understand that there is no one like you on this earth, neither will be there be any like you after you die. You are one of a kind, unique and beautiful. It may not feel like it sometimes, but constantly remind yourself of that. An extra dose of self-love won’t hurt you — it has no side effect. Nobody can love you more than you love yourself. You are enough, so stop comparing yourself to anyone else and make a commitment to being the best version of yourself this year.

Decide to have a good support system this year
You need to re-evaluate your circle this 2019. What kind of vibe, what kind of energy are you getting from your circle? Do you feel you are not being yourself or feel pressured to live a certain way? Or do you feel you are losing yourself by being part of a circle? If you feel that way, I have two words for you for them: ‘Bye Felicia.’

You need to control the energy you are constantly surrounded with. One advice that helps is change your circle. Focus on being better, loving yourself more and you will begin to attract the right people. Having a strong support system is crucial to your mental well-being.

Stack up cash.
Work on diversifying your income this year, making better financial decisions, and generally saving for a rainy day as low economic status is linked to adverse mental health.

Find out what you love doing and do it
Find out what you feel is your own quota to contribute to mankind and get right to it. Don’t waste any more time. A lot of people are frustrated, unfulfilled, unsatisfied and having challenges because they have not found their ‘purpose.’ Purpose sounds really complex, but I’ll say find out what you love and just start doing it. Things will unfold as times goes on.

Social Well-being

This simply means your ability to have meaningful relationships with people plus how well you adjust to the different situations you find yourself in. A few goals I’ll recommend you set in this area for a better social well-being:

Networking/leave your comfort zone
Network more in 2019. Meet new people. Leave your comfort zone. Read more this year as knowledge is power.

Be genuinely interested in people
Don’t show interest in people because you want something, it is annoying. Genuinely show interest in people, check up on friends, call your loved ones, make up your mind to give more this year. You pretty much get the kind of vibe you give out. Learn to listen to people, especially without the intent to respond; just pay attention to tiny details. Make up your mind to be nicer this year whether people deserve it or not.

This is obviously not exhaustive, but doing these will help you live healthier lives in 2019.


Dr. Azibanigha Scott Akpila a.k.a Dr. Azi Scott is a medical doctor who is passionate about solving our unique health problems using technology. She got her medical degree from the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons In Dublin Ireland. She worked as a clinical content researcher and later on as a clinical analyst in one of the largest tech companies in Dublin Ireland before recently moving to Nigeria where she currently works as a physician in one of the Country's leading teaching hospitals.


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