New Year, New You: Forming Healthy Habits

New Year, New You

Given how 2020 and 2021 went, everyone is understandably excited for the New Year and a fresh beginning. 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 is important to look at this opportunity for improvement in a way that creates healthy habits and not overwhelming restrictions.

How to Create Healthy Habits

If there is anything that we have learned from the past two years, it’s that our health and wellness is invaluable and deserves our full commitment. Listed below are tips for creating healthy habits from Stanford Psychologist, BJ Fogg:

  • Visualize the Results: When you want to form a new habit, you need to focus on it in a positive and rewarding way. To do this, try visualizing 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 and your new habits 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 trying 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. If your goal is to be more positive and focus on your mental health, find ways to start incorporating mindfulness or meditation. Whether it is while you enjoy your morning coffee or tea, during your yoga practice or even while you do the dishes.
  • 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 in 2022 won’t happen overnight, but with consistent, mindful efforts, they will happen over time!

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