Whether you’re trying to break an addiction or just live healthier, enhance your 2019 by picking up these great healthy habits.
New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to uphold.
Despite each year offering the promise of change and growth, we often find ourselves unable to stick to our goals.
But why is this?
Often, it tends to be something as simple as being too ambitious or dishonest with yourself. A goal like “I’m going to go to the gym every day” is immediately setting you up for failure especially if you don’t go to the gym often already.
The problem is most of our resolutions center around changing habits and our behavior. According to a scientific study, changing a habit can take anywhere from two months to an entire year.
The success depends on factors such as how big a change you’re trying to achieve and whether you’re dealing with something more difficult like an addiction.
Healthy habits are hard to create but the following guide will take you through the right ones that will set you up for success next year.
1. Set Small, Specific Goals for the Year
We set New Year’s resolutions because we all have a genuine desire to change ourselves for the better.
And we’ll only achieve what we want if we feel like we’re making success as we go. Setting random goals like “lose weight” or “be more productive” don’t give you anything specific to go by.
Tangible, easy goals like “lose one pound a month” may seem slow or nowhere close to your final goal, but no-one is saying you can’t lose more than that each month either.
The idea is to set yourself up to succeed.
Each time you hit your goal, you will feel encouraged to continue or even do better than before.
2. Exercise a Little Bit More
You can’t go from zero to seven days at the gym.
Sure, you may keep it up for a little while but soon you’ll exhaust your body or find it increasingly harder to commit to as more things happen over the year.
Instead, try really simple goals like “go for a walk around the block once a day” or “do 10 push-ups a day”.
Things like that may seem small, but 10 push-ups quickly add up to 70 a week and 3650 by the time the year is over.
3. Eat Slightly Healthier
If you try and cut out every treat, snack, and unhealthy meal you enjoy and go straight to fruits and vegetables it won’t work.
Unhealthy food is addictive, so you’re better off adding something healthy to your diet. If possible, choose the snack you don’t mind giving up and replace it with a healthy option.
Every time you get comfortable with the new healthy choice, swap out another unhealthy food. Over time, you’ll wean yourself off the addictive foods and find healthy options you actually enjoy.
4. Start to Budget
A lot of our goals for the year require money so having a solid budget not only means you have more control of your finances but will be able to afford what you want as well.
There are many apps which make it easy to log each time you spend money and even display the information in easy to follow graphics.
Start by recording one thing like when you buy alcohol or coffee. When you see how much you spend in a week it may encourage you to spend less and enjoy some serious savings over the year.
5. Set Financial Milestones
Maybe you want to put money away for retirement or a future house. Maybe you have some debt to pay off.
Whatever it is, try to set easy goals to achieve throughout the year that you know you can stick to.
“Pay off debt” is significantly more difficult to follow than “Put $20 aside every paycheck”.
6. Plan for Big Trips
If you know you’re going somewhere later in the year then that can help incentivize you to stay motivated in the months leading up to it.
For example, if you have a beach holiday planned in July, it will encourage you to keep exercising to look better by the time it comes around.
You may also have a getaway planned with some friends so you’ll feel more compelled to save money if you know you’ll be able to enjoy yourself later.
7. Fight Addiction with Healthy Habits
New Year is also a time when many people struggling with addiction make resolutions to get clean.
From alcohol to opioid addiction, sometimes overcoming the disease can seem impossible.
But past the physical dependency, almost all of the battle is fought in the mind. Commanding the will and fortitude to feel the alluring urge and still say no is a skill which takes time to learn and master.
To start, the best way is to give yourself other, smaller victories in your life like the habits outlined above. Getting more exercise in, eating a little healthier, each achievement will give you encouragement and help show you that you can meet your goals.
Over time, those feelings of achievement and self-worth add up and may give you the strength you need to take on your biggest challenge of beating your addiction.
Just like everything else, you start with small goals and work yourself up.
8. Write Down Your Goals
There is scientific evidence that shows physically writing down a goal and planning how you will achieve it is essential to it coming true.
Humans are visual, it seems dumb that scribbling something down and checking it off could be so significant. And yet, we now know that our brain finds it easier to focus on a goal and even rewards us more when it’s written down.
If you like, you can write a large lofty goal at the end and then a series of smaller achievable goals that you know will lead to it.
As long as you give yourself a set path to follow with easy to reach goals you are more likely to succeed.
Be Honest with Yourself
There’s no point setting yourself goals you know you won’t reach. It will not only make you feel bad about yourself but it will also discourage you to make more in the future.
Bettering yourself and building healthy habits takes time and patience.
For more advice on living your best life, check out our lifestyle articles.