How to Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions into Healthy Habits

New Year’s Resolutions

The whole month of December is a great time to self-reflect and many people start to think of how they cane their best selves in the new year. Typically, December 31st is when most people write their New Year’s resolutions and their plan to achieve those resolutions. While this is a great tradition and self improvement is a positive thing, you have to be careful not to get carried away. You want to approach your goals in a positive way to prevent overwhelming yourself or causing yourself unnecessary stress and anxiety. To help you not only set positive New Year’s resolutions, but also help you turn those resolutions into life-long healthy habits, we’ve collected tips from WELCOA, American Psychological Association, Stanford Psychologist, BJ Fogg, and his team!

First: Focus on Setting Positive Goals

Stella Grizont, MAPP, is the founder of WOOPAAH, a company that designs happiness and play experiences for individuals and organizations. In her article for WELCOA, she gives three tips on changing your attitude towards New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Focus on Feeling. Before setting any goals, think about how you want to feel or what you want to be in 2020. You have to find the “why” behind your goals to make them meaningful and give you purpose.
  2. Avoid “I Should.” Beginning your goals with “I should go to the gym more,” “I should eat healthier,” or anything that contains “I should…” is just another form of self-critism and it will create a negative connotation with your goals. To avoid this, first test out your goal in your imagination. Ask your self what would happen if you followed through with a goal. Would you feel happier or more free? Or do you feel yourself resisting? Sometimes you might not feel anything at all! Avoid the goals that you respond negatively to, and focus on the ones you have a positive reaction to. This will make you want to complete your goal and will keep you feeling motivated.
  3. Be Aware of Your Motivation. This is a very important step to changing your attitude towards New Year’s resolutions. What is motivating you to change? Do you feel obligated or expected to change? Or maybe you are feeling pressure from social media. Whatever your motivation is, remember to set goals based on your heart and your own organic interests and desires. This is always the best motivation to build goals around!

Second: Focus on Turning Goals into Healthy Habits

Keeping the above tips in mind, here are tips for turning New Year’s resolutions into habits from Stanford Psychologist, BJ Fogg:

  1. Visualize the Results: To make your New Year’s resolutions last, you have to make them something positive and not an excruciating task. To do this, you need to visualize the results and imagine how happy you will feel in the future because of your new habits. It is like harnessing the “dopamine effect.” If something makes you feel happy, your brain reminds you to keep doing it.
  2. Start Slow: Fogg explains that we should start with small actions that we can celebrate. He states, “It’s much easier and it’s much more reliable to start habits that are small and get them firmly rooted in the ground by feeling successful.” By associating the New Year’s resolution with a feeling of positivity and reward, you are encouraging yourself to continue.
  3. Make it a Routine: If you attach a new habit to something you already do in your daily routine, then the habit will slowly become a part of your routine as well. If you are tying to incorporate more movement into your day, do push-ups, sit-ups or squats during commercial breaks while watching TV in the evenings. Or every time you get up to use the restroom, take an extra walk around the office or even take the stairs to the restroom on the next floor.
  4. Be Consistent: According to Fogg’s research, consistency is key. If you start with baby-steps, consistency will turn them into the full behavior you want. Creating long-lasting healthy habits out of your New Year’s resolutions won’t happen overnight, but with consistent, mindful efforts, they will happen over time!

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