Making Healthy, Habit Forming New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Given how 2020 has gone, everyone is understandably excited for the New Year. The dawn of a new year brings hope and the power to harness change. The month of December is a great time to self-reflect and start thinking about how you can become your best self 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, it’s important to not overwhelm yourself.

If there is anything that we have learned from 2020, it’s that our health and wellness is invaluable and deserves our full commitment. However, we can sometimes create New Year’s resolutions that are too strict and extreme, often causing us stress and doing more harm than good. This year, your goal should be to set achievable resolutions that you can turn into long term healthy habits.

How to Turn Your Resolutions into Healthy Habits

Listed below are tips for turning New Year’s resolutions into habits from Stanford Psychologist, BJ Fogg:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, try doing 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, whether you are back at the office or still working remotely, turn it in to a movement break. Stretch, take the stairs, play with the dog, etc.
  • 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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